Missteps, Recoveries and OpportunitiesBy Lawrence Walsh | Posted 2009-02-09 Email Print
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Symantec and McAfee have dominated the antivirus marketplace for the last decade. But missteps by the big two have created opportunities for smaller vendors, such as Kaspersky Lab, Sophos and AVG, to make deep inroads into the one-time impenetrable market.
Symantec has suffered a litany of mistakes and meltdowns in recent years. Following its acquisition of Veritas for its storage management software, Symantec botched the implementation of an ERP platform that was intended to unify their security and storage offerings in one unified ordering system. Since taking on Veritas, partners and end users have complained that Big Yellow’s security software products—particularly client-based antivirus—have become increasingly ineffective in detecting and cleaning malware infections while taxing CPU performance.
Symantec has spent more than 18 months trying to recover from the ERP catastrophe—known internally as Project Oasis—and rebuilding confidence around its security products with Endpoint Security Version 11 for businesses and Norton 360 for consumers. The acquisition of Altiris gives Symantec a strong foothold in security configuration management capabilities. And it’s developing a strategy for data loss prevention through its acquisition of Vontu.
It’s a position that Eugene Kaspersky gleefully disagrees with. While he was announcing more liberal payment terms to his partners, ChannelWeb reported that Symantec was using access to credit as a means of pressuring its partners to only sell Symantec security products.
"We’re not fighting with our competition; we’re fighting cyber-criminals," Kaspersky says. "The major goal is to win over cyber-criminals. The second goal is to win over our competitors with the big help of our friends [partners]. And our third goal is making money on all that."
Kaspersky isn’t the only vendor taking aim at Symantec. McAfee, though criticized by solution providers for having declining margins on its products and poor support, is continuing to attack Symantec in the enterprise and high end of the midmarket. McAfee as much as any other security vendor capitalized on Symantec’s recent woes and took customers and market share away.
Roger King, executive vice president of worldwide channels at McAfee, says the company’s recent addition of Secure Computing’s appliances—particularly its Secure Firewall, formerly known as the Sidewider G2—will make it a strong competitor against its primary targets: Symantec, Check Point and Websense. "We are going to be aggressive and disruptive," he says.