Security Market Segment LS
Wednesday, 26 July 2006 09:21

Symantec Yahoo deal signals start of security wars

The agreement between Symantec and Yahoo, which will see the Norton range of consumer security products offered to Yahoo users at a heavily discounted rate is more than simply an expansion of their previous collaborations. It heralds the beginning of a war in the software security space.

AOL and McAfee have already teamed up to offer a similar deal to AOL users and the pricing of the Symantec package at $50 mirrors the Windows Live OneCare offering from Microsoft.

The major security vendors have been telegraphing their own insecurities ever since it became apparent that their former partner Microsoft signalled its intent to compete against them. Microsoft needs to find new markets to grow and security software for its own customer base is a no brainer.

For the past year or more, the security vendors have been flailing around in many directions trying to make sure they stay relevant and maintain a grip on their customers. Symantec, realizing its vulnerability in the consumer anti-virus space decided to diversify and bought storage management company Veritas in 2005.

Diversification or not, however, the importance of the anti-virus and internet security products to Symantec's survival as a thriving growing business was demonstrated in May when it launched a lawsuit against Microsoft seeking an injunction against further development of Windows Vista.

Symantec alleges that parts of Vista were developed using misappropriated data storage technologies developed by Veritas.

Vista has its own built-in security and is inherently more secure than previous Windows versions because it is built around a Unix-like permissions system. When Microsoft customers eventually move to Vista, both Symantec and McAfee holding onto their migrating customers.

Meanwhile, both Symantec and McAfee are exploiting their alliances in the internet space, and the increasing vulnerability of online users, for all their worth in an effort to hold Microsoft's push into security at bay.

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