Yesterday, Symantec announced its intent to join the likes of eBay and HP in splitting up the company into two separate, but equally fragmented companies.
Symantec confirmed the move in a press release yesterday, stating that it would split into two distinct companies, one focused on security and the other on information management. Per the agreement, Michael A. Brown will be the President and CEO of Symantec and Thomas Seifert will continue to serve as CFO. John Gannon will be General Manager of the new information management business and Don Rath will be its acting CFO. Brown, by the way, just took the helm as CEO of Symantec on September 25th just two days after the company also announced a huge shakeup in its security product lines.
I'm sure customers are probably wondering today how the split will look, considering Symantec has over 110 products in its list of solutions. It's pretty easy to figure out which products will be shoved into the security business, but the information management business is unclear as Symantec has interweaved a bit of security into each product. Information Management consists of backup and recovery; archiving; eDiscovery; storage management; and information availability solutions, while the Security business will retain consumer and enterprise endpoint security; endpoint management; encryption; mobile; Secure Socket Layer (“SSL”) Certificates; user authentication; mail, web and data center security; data loss prevention; hosted security; and managed security services. If Symantec wanted to make it clearer, the announcement would have detailed the actual products.
For these companies, it makes sense, though I'm not entirely sure it will make them successful. The industry has changed. Over the past few years, through acquisitions and product expansion, market offerings have ballooned into unmanageable and most times confusing prospects. When your product collection is bigger than the old Sears Christmas catalog it makes it extremely hard to cross sell. Splitting the company up into different focuses should help, but sadly, the companies caught catching the division train have bigger problems.
And, of course, I'm sure we'll hear renewed calls for a Microsoft company split as we have over the past few days since HP's announcement. But here's the thing, Microsoft is doing just fine. The company, under Satya Nadella, seems to have figured out how to reenergize the business without dividing the company and its resources.
Symantec's full press release announcement is here: Symantec Announces New Strategy to Fuel Growth and Plans to Separate into Two Public Industry-Leading Technology Companies