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SPLITTERS! Symantec cleft in twain

Security and storage units must now take their own paths

The reports have been confirmed: Symantec CEO Michael Brown will split the unwieldy business into separate security and information management concerns, thus undoing the 2004 Veritas acquisition.

Brown has moved quickly after his confirmation in the role to lift the cleaver.

The San Andreas-style fault running through the heart of Symantec — security on one side and storage on the other — has proved impossible to stabilise, prompting the two sides to move apart.

Symantec will divide into two independent, publicly traded companies, with claims abounding of increased shareholder value, as each business will be able to:

  • Focus on its unique growth opportunities, R&D investments, and go-to-market capabilities
  • Reduce operational complexity
  • Enhance strategic flexibility, pursue partnerships, and develop independent M&A strategies
  • Set distinct capital allocation policies

The $4.2bn security business, to be called Symantec, will have Michael Brown as its CEO and president, and Thomas Seifert as its CFO.

The $2.5bn information management business has no name yet and features John Gannon as its general manager, not CEO, and Don Rath as the acting CFO. These two appointments suggest that formal CEO and CFO appointments will follow at a later date.

How this will affect Symantec's channel has yet to be revealed.

Just for the record, Symantec claims the IM business will:

  • Innovate to provide foundational products for its customers’ information management strategy, whether it’s on premise software, integrated appliances or in the cloud.
  • Dramatically reduce the total cost of ownership of storing, managing, and deriving insights from information, and help customers reduce the unmanaged proliferation of redundant and unused data.
  • Enable visibility, management, and control across an organisation’s entire information landscape through an intelligent information fabric layer that integrates with its portfolio and third-party ecosystems.

Right you are.

The idea of an intelligent information fabric layer looks promising, suggestive of a single virtual pool of information spanning a customer's business. Is it needed? Will it be any more successful than exec-level, see-everything-dashboards-with-drill-down that have been tried in the past?

The security business will:

  • Deliver a unified security platform that integrates threat information from its products and Norton endpoints to generate more intelligence and telemetry, and integrate this threat information in a big data platform for superior threat analysis.
  • Grow its cybersecurity service capabilities across managed security, incident response, threat adversary intelligence and simulation-based training for security professionals.
  • Simplify and integrate its security products portfolio by consolidating its Norton products to one offering and by extending its ATP and DLP capabilities into more of its products to maximise protection in each of its enterprise access points: endpoint, mail, web and server gateways.

The Storage Vulture says

Our view is that both business will need to use M&A to get access to newer growth technologies in their respective areas.

The separation should complete by the end of 2015 and take the form of a free distribution of shares in the IM business to current Symantec shareholders. ®

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