Altiris purchase has secret agenda

Purchase expands offerings, but only on paper

The US$830 million purchase of Altiris by Symantec should do more to prove Symantec on-paper growth rather than creating extra value for existing Symantec customers.

The purchase, announced today, has been seen by some industry analysts as just a move to demonstrate growth to Wall Street rather than provide greater customer value or product choice.

The deal is expected to close after June, 2007. Analysts believe Symantec will have difficulty integrating Altiris products.

Hydrasight research analyst Michael Warrilow said Symantec has been looking for enterprise growth and are falling short - at the moment the company is seen as a large, unwieldy and unintegrated purveyor of enterprise software utilities looking to demonstrate growth to Wall Street rather than integrated value to its customers.

Warrilow added Altiris has been well regarded in the Asia Pacific region with several large rollouts and Symantec will be best to leave the company and products well alone for the time being.

"Symantec have a secret agenda from John Thompson to get to US$10 billion in revenue by 2010 with ten percent of that revenue coming from services and they really want to be a big player in the enterprise software market - they realized Microsoft were stepping into Symantec territory and the Veritas purchase was a major move on their behalf to counteract that," Warrilow said.

"Symantec have been having trouble since last financial quarter results as they were not what was anticipated. In one sense they (Symantec) are doing everything they can to keep Wall Street happy and have acquired close to 30 companies in the last few years.

"All Symantec infrastructure seems myopically focused on financials and they seem to have a blissful ignorance with the need to start integrating the bulk of products and they don't' seem to have a vision like IBM or HP as to getting or promoting product synergy."

All correspondence with Altiris Australia has been directed towards Symantec. Symantec Australia were not available for comment at the time of writing, directing all enquiries to the US.

Car manufacturer Holden and the Department of Education, Science and Training (DEST) all use Altiris products.

Mark Boyd, desktop infrastructure manager for the Department of Education Science and Training said Altiris client management suite is used internally to scale and image machines, deploy jobs and remote access.

"We've been using it over a bit of a chequered history," Boyd said.

"Tafe has used it for about five years and we are implementing it in the schools' statewide managed network."

One government spokesperson, who refused to be named, hoped Symantec did not give the Altiris products "the Symantec touch."

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