Veritas customers unfamiliar with Symantec licensing model

Customer support hit

First it was international piracy rings, now its customers, being blamed for Symantec's licensing debacle which has slowed the processing of licenses for an upgrade to one of the company's key Veritas data backup products.

The company has blamed the licensing delays for Veritas Backup Exec 11 on Veritas users not familiar with Symantec's licensing model.

Symantec said Veritas customers had no idea they had to acquire an upgraded software licence online to use the Veritas product.

As a result thousands of customers have been hit with very slow response times from customer support.

Chris Paden, Symantec communications director, confirmed the process of batching Veritas software licences at 20,000 at a time will continue until the beginning of February 2007. Paden estimates more than 100,000 licences will be released under this model.

Paden said he doubted Veritas Backup Exec customers were consulted ahead of time to the Symantec online licencing model.

"Symantec customers are familiar with this but it is a new process for Veritas users," Paden said.

He admitted it was an education process that Symantec needed to manage.

Adding to customer woes was an internal ERP upgrade by Symantec which was completed in November.

This is in addition to Symantec battling piracy rings that is costing the company more than $US10 million in lost revenue annually.

Symantec has been investigating large piracy rings in the US and Canada for more than two years.

"We were losing half a billion dollars a year to software piracy in the summer of 2002 and now that figure is in the teens," Paden said.

To date local customers have been coping with the licensing debacle. A spokesperson for Brisbane City Council said the local government authority hasn't encountered any problems with sales support and is receiving its regular software updates.

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