Symantec CEO Sees Future in SAAS

CEO John Thompson says Symantec will acquire smaller companies that can augment its existing portfolio.

Symantec CEO John Thompson said his company has plans to deliver more of its technology as a service to meet the needs of customers and SMBs.

Calling the companys live update service for its Norton products a core part of Symantecs business, Thompson said the corporation plans to provide more of its offerings in the same way.

"Now we think that there are other technology components in our portfolio that lend themselves well to a service delivery model," Thompson told reporters at a roundtable at the Nasdaq Market site Aug. 28. "We think there are customers in the marketplace who would love to take advantage of the backup capabilities offered as a service."

He said the company is planning to make a backup service targeted at small and midsize businesses available later in 2007. The company will link the announcement of the service with the launch of the next version of its Backup Exec product, he said.

The driving force in todays digital economy is the consumer, he said, adding, however, that providers that want to thrive must focus on making technology easier to use as well as helping enterprises manage an ever-increasing amount of business data.

To that end, he stressed the importance of innovation, both from within—meaning done internally by the companys army of engineers—and without, in the form of acquisitions and partnerships.

In its 25-year history, Symantec has built up a well-deserved reputation as having a voracious appetite for acquisitions, and there likely will not be much of a slowdown in its future.

"We are a very acquisitive company; in my time at Symantec, which is about eight and a half years, we have probably purchased 25 to 40 companies, maybe even more than that," Thompson said. "I dont envision in the near future a Veritas-size acquisition."


Click here to read about Veritas data center software being certified for use on Oracle Enterprise Linux.

But that potentially leaves a lot of wiggle room, as Symantec purchased Veritas in 2005 for roughly $13.5 billion. However, Thompson said the company is more interested in smaller companies that can augment Symantecs existing portfolio, though there are no companies under close consideration at this time.

Noting the company is now in its 25th year, Thompson said Symantec will continue to invest in innovation. Symantec has already reinvented itself twice in its existence, and will likely do so again in its next two decades, he said

"If you are not prepared to do that, you are not prepared to deal with the reality of how customers needs are changing," he said.

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