Network Associates Eyes Wireless

Network Associates wants to tap wireless enterprise customers and the service provider market with a new mix of network analysis and security products.

Network Associates President, Chair and CEO Bill Larson says his company is not retreating from the enterprise market, where it currently sells antivirus software and services, network sniffers, PGP encryption software and other products to corporations and small businesses. Rather, Network Associates, which has seen revenue bounce back following a dismal 1999, wants to tap the hot service provider and wireless markets, largely unexplored terrain for the company.

"The next wave for growth for us will be in products for the Internet, wireless and broadband," Larson says.

Larson tells Network World that Network Associates is coming out with encryption and antivirus products for the PalmOS, cellular and infrared devices by year-end, and last week shipped a LAN sniffer for Symbol Technologies' wireless LAN. The idea is to let IS staff centrally manage the authentication of wireless end users and ensure that only the appropriate network resources are accessible to them.

The first of the new products, PGPWireless for PalmOS, is expected to ship in December for $79 per device. Other products in the line, PGPWireless for Windows CE and EPOC, will be available in the first half of next year. The products will be designed to interoperate with users' desktops so files can be securely transmitted. For the service provider market later this year, Network Associates will release a broadband sniffer for optical networks, cable and DSL services that will allow telephone companies to analyze traffic to guarantee service-level agreements for customers. The company will also release a voice-over-IP sniffer for use by telephone companies to monitor and analyze IP packets.

Under an agreement with Nokia, Network Associates will build and sell an antivirus "appliance" of hardware/software for high-speed scans of mail traffic.

At the end of last year, Network Associates reorganized into six divisions, informing employees that if revenue improved as a result, Network Associates might spin them off under separate IPOs. Although revenue is up, the company won't take that step in the near future, because of stock-market volatility, Larson says. "But [the plan is] still on the table," he adds.

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