October 11, 2005 10:00 PM PDT

Symantec won't 'whine' about Microsoft

SAN FRANCISCO--Microsoft is set to enter the security arena next year, but Symantec won't compete by complaining to antitrust regulators or suing the software giant.

"We're not looking to go whining to the EU or the DOJ for anything," Symantec Chief Executive Officer John Thompson said Tuesday, referring to the European Union and the U.S. Department of Justice. Thompson was responding to questions from reporters after an event at the Commonwealth Club here.

Symantec, based in Cupertino, Calif., has responded to questions from EU competition authorities about its role in the security industry but has no intent to file a complaint about Microsoft, Thompson said.

John Thompson
John Thompson
CEO, Symantec

"We're not involved with anything with the EU," Thompson said. "We don't need competition in the courtrooms." Instead, Thompson said Symantec will compete with its products, which he said are superior those Microsoft has yet to launch.

Thompson's statements come on the day Microsoft announced a $761 million settlement in a private antitrust lawsuit filed by RealNetworks. In that lawsuit, RealNetworks accused Microsoft of stifling competition in the media player space.

Microsoft is set to enter the security software market next year, with products to protect businesses and consumers against viruses, worms, spyware and other threats. The move pits the Redmond, Wash., company against established security players such as Symantec, McAfee and Trend Micro.

A news report last week said Symantec was complaining to the EU about Microsoft, specifically concerning the possible bundling of security software with Windows.

With security being the biggest area of investment among IT users, it is not surprising that Microsoft wants a piece of the pie, Thompson said in his presentation Tuesday.

"It is inevitable that Microsoft will enter the security market," he said. "I don't think their entry into the market automatically pushes us out, nor do I think their entry into the market represents preordained success by any stretch of the imagination."

Few companies offer products that really help users--business users in particular--protect their systems, Thompson said.

"I would argue that others will find a way to deliver a piece of the solution, but few...have the whole end-to-end process in mind," he said.

According to Thompson, users are looking for a vendor that can help assess security risks, develop appropriate security policies, pick and deploy the right technologies, and help with security audits. "There are few companies in the industry that really do that. We happen to be one of them," he said.

Furthermore, Thompson noted that Symantec is a key Microsoft partner; the companies share millions of customers. "We make the Windows experience secure, and therefore, there is a mutual dependency between us and Microsoft," he said. "While they may have an interest in the security market, they also have an interest in us being successful."

19 comments

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Let me guess...
When MS comes out with their "security software", Symantec software will no longer be "compatible" with the next version of Windows. I think MS should focus on the security of their OS before diving into stand-alone security apps.
Posted by buldir (6 comments )
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wtf?
Thats beyond all possible anti-monopoly laws and that sort of thing. It just wont happen, so instead of ******** like Realnetworks, Symantec is going to compete with real products.

I wouldnt touch real player with a 5 foot stick, but I use norton on most of my familys computers. That says a lot about the differences in symantec's attitude..
Posted by wazzledoozle (288 comments )
Link Flag
Three cheers for Symantec
Symantec says it clearly: it's all about the product. They do not have intentions on using their resources in anything but developing their products.

They have confidence in their products. They know there is no reason to be worried.

Good for them.
Posted by Al Be (21 comments )
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Symantec will loose some ground
Symantec will loose some profits in the home security area, as well as Mcafee, to MS. They will also loose some in the business area as well. They do realize, however, that their core business is in the business sector and that is where MS will not do well.
For the near future, Symantec, Mcafee and Trend Micro will be secure.
Posted by WesFlash (19 comments )
Link Flag
I'd say raspberries
Yeah, they say it. They are going to say whatever they think will get the best reaction. I've had so much trouble with NAV, both before and after Symantec acquired it, both with the product and trying to get any help or even contact the company, that I never miss an opporunity to flame them. And of course I won't run their software and remove it if it comes installed.
Posted by cscoder (51 comments )
Link Flag
Kudos to Symantec!
Kudos to Symantec and Thompson for realizing how to compete!
Posted by (1 comment )
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Symantec or Microsoft? Neither of the two...
This combination provides compelling reasons to move to OpenDocument + Linux or (when it happens - to Open OS/2 Warp!) In this way sensible people and companies would stop wasting their $$$ on products that are not documented, lack much needed functionalities (among these - security) and are not ready to be in compliance with International (OASIS + ISO) Standards.
Posted by Captain_Spock (894 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Just run Windows under Xen 3
Eventually, it'll be cheaper and more secure to just run Windows under Xen, and let Linux do the outward-facing to the internet.
Posted by alucinor (71 comments )
Reply Link Flag
The King is Dead, Long live the King...
I give them 1 year...and they will be a sliver of marketshare in the desktop AV market, paying $29.95 per year for AV is way too rich...Look for MS to offer it for 10-20% of that...or even free...
I just don't see how SYMC can compete...
Posted by TR26 (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
M$ AntiVirus
In my opinion having M$ AntiVirus is the same as having their firewall, It's like telling the weasel he can guard the hen house, an extremely bad situation!
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
How refreshing!
How refreshing! Its a pleasant suprise to hear someone speak like that during these days of endless whining.
Posted by (402 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Talk is cheap
I've wasted too many hours dealing with Symantec's blatant indifference with the small business user to put any reliance in anything the company says. Excrucating details are available on request.

Integrity should apply across the board to everyone you do business with, not just the best sources of the most profit. Say what you like about MS, I have never had any problems with their software or communicating with the company even approaching those I have had with Symantec.
Posted by cscoder (51 comments )
Link Flag
The buck stops...
Microsoft will always pass the buck on for it's security.
Posted by richardis (3 comments )
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No good experiences with Symantec
As a small business user I have had many problems both technical and in communicating with Symantec, principally NAV, to the point that I won't run any Symantect products. Details are available for anyone who is interested. I'm sure corporate users get better treatment, but based on my experiences, I don't like to rely on Symantec for anyting.
Posted by cscoder (51 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Wha!
Uh, Mr. Thompson, would care for some Chapstick with that decision?
Posted by Mister C (423 comments )
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Sounds like SYMC's up for sale or merger...
...and it's about time. Arguably overdue. The leading American ISP's have begun to take the home office thru small business market security suites in-house already with EarthLink's buy of the excellent Aluria being the first to offer a fully free (and excellent) real-time suite inclusive of hardware firewall to paying customers. The folks who've beta'd MSN's full suite know that - propaganda notwithstanding - it's no slouch either. Anyway, SYMC probable buyer or merger candidate - and I'm just guessing - GOOG is right up there.
Posted by i_made_this (302 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Think You Had Something To Worry About!
Think about if you >>>"Don't have MS Office XP Professional? You don't get to play."<<< in the MSXML game! Symantec + Microsoft being set to enter the security arena next year appears to be certainly leading up to the "Great Lock Down"! So, Enter Massachusetts and the European Union (see link):

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://madpenguin.org/cms/?m=show&#38;id=5304&#38;page=2" target="_newWindow">http://madpenguin.org/cms/?m=show&#38;id=5304&#38;page=2</a>
Posted by Captain_Spock (894 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Think You Had Something To Worry About!
Think about if you &gt;&gt;&gt;"Don't have MS Office XP Professional? You don't get to play."&lt;&lt;&lt; in the MSXML game! Symantec + Microsoft being set to enter the security arena next year appears to be certainly leading up to the "Great Lock Down"! So, Enter Massachusetts and the European Union (see link):

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://madpenguin.org/cms/?m=show&#38;id=5304&#38;page=2" target="_newWindow">http://madpenguin.org/cms/?m=show&#38;id=5304&#38;page=2</a>
Posted by Captain_Spock (894 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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