Symantec Buys Brightmail, and the Pieces Fit Perfectly

What took them so long? Brightmail and Symantec were close cousins and their product lines are basically complementary, so the combination should work well for both.

You couldnt call Symantecs purchase of Brightmail a big surprise. The two companies are corporate cousins. Theyre so related they must go to each others houses for Thanksgiving.

Brightmail Inc.s president and CEO, Enrique Salem, is a former head of the security business unit at Symantec Corp.

A bio on Brad Kingsbury, vice president of engineering, says he was the "chief technologist at Symantec/Peter Norton Group, where he was the designer and developer of antivirus and utility applications, including Norton AntiVirus and Norton Utilities."

And there are other executive connections. Brightmail Anti-Spam already scans mail with Symantecs antivirus scanner. And Symantec already owns 11 percent of Brightmail.

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It really is a natural fit. I get pitched a lot of security products, and I see a lot of interest in consolidation to make things easier for buyers and administrators. Symantec has been growing its areas of network security coverage, but its antispam protection is limited to a good, but unspectacular, client-side product.

Im sure Brightmails perimeter server-based antispam solution has no hope of scaling down to a Windows device driver to be part of the next Norton Internet Security, nor would the Norton AntiSpam product scale up to protecting enterprises.

Symantec actually does have a gateway-level antispam product called Symantec AntiSpam for SMTP, but its not a real industry leader like Brightmail. For the most part, the two companies are not just noncompetitors, they are like jigsaw puzzle pieces that fit together.

Brightmail has a lot of other partnerships, though, and I wonder whether the Symantec connection will muddy them up.

Consider the integration of Brightmail Anti-Spam 5.0 and BorderWare Technologies Inc.s MXtreme Mail Firewall appliance. Perhaps Symantec doesnt have an exactly analogous product, but its in business lines perilously close.

Im also sure BorderWare would rather tell its customers that its integrated with Brightmail Anti-Spam than with Symantec AntiSpam. Of course, its far too early to know what will happen to things like product names.

Next Page: Consolidation should bring better admin, packaging integration.