Symantec boss unfazed by endpoint security startups

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Symantec boss unfazed by endpoint security startups
Greg Clark, Symantec

Symantec boss Greg Clark said endpoint security startups have enjoyed heavy funding and market share gains, but it's not coming at Symantec's expense.

"If you look at some of the other, bigger players in effectiveness of endpoint, we are a lot, lot better," Clark told Wall Street analysts during the company's earnings call Thursday. "So I believe that some of the growth we're seeing in the other startup companies that are executing reasonably well is coming out of other people's share."

The platform security vendor excels at protecting enterprises against malware in the endpoint, Clark said, leveraging both traditional, signature-based protection and detection technologies, as well as artificial intelligence.

Symantec is competing well in the AI space, Clark said, with technology that's "extremely powerful" in both detecting and preventing cyberattacks. Plus Symantec has enjoyed some good wins in the endpoint space, Clark said, taking accounts away from others.

Clark said Symantec is very pleased with the effectiveness of its endpoint product from both a size and vision perspective. Symantec was the top-ranked vendor out of the 21 companies evaluated for the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Endpoint Protection Platforms, and was one of just three businesses – alongside Sophos and Trend Micro – to earn a spot in the leaders quadrant.

Nonetheless, Clark — without naming specific rivals — said Symantec faces stiff competition from heavily-funded, venture-backed startups in the endpoint security space. In 2018 alone, Carbon Black went public in a US$152 million offering, while Tanium has received US$375 million of outside funding, CrowdStrike has gotten US$200 million of outside funding, and Cylance has received US$120 million in outside funding.

"The endpoint is a hotly-contested environment," Clark said.

Sales for the quarter ended 28 September decreased to US$1.18 billion, down 5.2 percent from US$1.24 billion a year earlier. That edged out Seeking Alpha estimates of US$1.15 billion.

The company reported a net loss of US$8 million, or US$0.01 per diluted share, improved from a net loss of US$12 million, or US$0.02 per diluted share, last year. On a non-GAAP basis, net income increased to US$277 million, or US$0.42 per diluted share, up from US$268 million, or US$0.40 per diluted share, a year ago. That beat Seeking Alpha's earnings projection of US$0.33 per share.

Symantec's stock jumped 6.78 percent US$1.27 to US$20 in after-hours trading. Earnings were announced after the market closed Thursday.

Enterprise security sales dropped to US$574 million, down 16.3 percent from US$686 million the year prior. Consumer digital safety revenue, though, leapfrogged to US$601 million, up 8.5 percent from US$554 million last year.

For the coming quarter, Symantec expects non-GAAP earnings of US$0.37 to US$0.41 per diluted share on adjusted sales of US$1.16 billion to US$1.19 billion. Analysts had been expecting non-GAAP earnings of US$0.39 per share on adjusted sales of US$1.19 billion, according to Seeking Alpha.

This article originally appeared at

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