Symantec's future seems to be secure. The company provides security, storage, and systems management software for businesses and consumers. Its applications handle such functions as virus protection, PC maintenance, data backup and recovery, intrusion detection, data loss prevention, spam control, content filtering, and remote server management. Symantec sells its products through a direct sales force, as well as through distributors, resellers, computer manufacturers, and systems integrators. The company also provides managed services and training. More than half of sales come from outside the US.
Symantec may be best known for its popular Norton family of consumer security software, but the company generates more of its revenues from enterprise infrastructure management, security and compliance applications, and services. Delving into the market for cloud computing, where users access applications over the Internet rather than installing software on their own computers, the company offers a variety of applications through Symantec Hosted Services. Also known as software-as-a-service (SaaS), the field is seen as a growth area by Symantec.
Sales for fiscal 2012 were $6.7 billion, a 9% increase over 2010. The company points to strong growth in backup, SaaS, data loss prevention, and managed security products. Sales of the security and compliance segment rose 20% on increased sales of information security products, user authentication, and trust products and services. Sales of consumer products were up 8% on growth in its premium internet and security products and sales through its online store. In its storage and server management segment (its largest with 36% of sales), revenues were up 4%, primarily due to sales from acquisitions which also negatively impacted profitability in the segment. (Overall, sales from acquisitions made during fiscal 2011 added $54 million to fiscal 2012 results.)
Services revenues fell 14% as the company transitioned certain consulting operations to specialized partners in order to focus on its core software operations. Symantec continued to be profitable in fiscal 2012, with net income that increased by more than 95% to $1.2 billion from $597 million in the prior period.
Symantec has pursued an aggressive acquisition strategy to grow its enterprise business. In 2012 the company acquired mobile application management software developer Nukona to complement its previous purchase that year of Odyssey Software, a maker of similar applications. The deals are part of Symantec's push to build its line of products for protecting and managing mobile apps and data as global demand for wireless devices continues to grow.
The company also fluffed up its cloud capabilities during the year with the $115 million purchase of archiving provider LiveOffice, which offers its information storage and management on demand. In 2011 the company paid about $390 million for legal software developer Clearwell Systems. The deal added electronic discovery tools used by businesses to automate and manage functions related to government regulatory compliance and legal proceedings, among other uses.
Symantec also held a 49% stake in a joint venture with Huawei Technologies that develops security and storage products for telecom service providers. The company had reported losses on the venture every year since its formation, and in 2012 sold its stake to Huawei for $530 million. Symantec asserted that it was exiting the venture because it had achieved its goals, which included an expanded presence in China and a burgeoning appliance business.
Founded in 1982, Symantec serves enterprise and individual customers in more than 50 countries worldwide. – less