Symantec won't 'whine' about Microsoft

Company won't complain to antitrust regulators or take the software giant to court, CEO John Thompson says.

SAN FRANCISCO--Microsoft is set to enter the security arena next year, but Symantec won't compete by complaining to antitrust regulators or suing the software giant.

"We're not looking to go whining to the EU or the DOJ for anything," Symantec Chief Executive Officer John Thompson said Tuesday, referring to the European Union and the U.S. Department of Justice. Thompson was responding to questions from reporters after an event at the Commonwealth Club here.

Symantec, based in Cupertino, Calif., has responded to questions from EU competition authorities about its role in the security industry but has no intent to file a complaint about Microsoft, Thompson said.

John Thompson
John Thompson
CEO, Symantec

"We're not involved with anything with the EU," Thompson said. "We don't need competition in the courtrooms." Instead, Thompson said Symantec will compete with its products, which he said are superior those Microsoft has yet to launch.

Thompson's statements come on the day Microsoft announced a $761 million settlement in a private antitrust lawsuit filed by RealNetworks . In that lawsuit, RealNetworks accused Microsoft of stifling competition in the media player space.

Microsoft is set to enter the security software market next year, with products to protect businesses and consumers against viruses, worms, spyware and other threats. The move pits the Redmond, Wash., company against established security players such as Symantec, McAfee and Trend Micro.

A news report last week said Symantec was complaining to the EU about Microsoft, specifically concerning the possible bundling of security software with Windows.

With security being the biggest area of investment among IT users, it is not surprising that Microsoft wants a piece of the pie, Thompson said in his presentation Tuesday.

"It is inevitable that Microsoft will enter the security market," he said. "I don't think their entry into the market automatically pushes us out, nor do I think their entry into the market represents preordained success by any stretch of the imagination."

Few companies offer products that really help users--business users in particular--protect their systems, Thompson said.

"I would argue that others will find a way to deliver a piece of the solution, but few...have the whole end-to-end process in mind," he said.

According to Thompson, users are looking for a vendor that can help assess security risks, develop appropriate security policies, pick and deploy the right technologies, and help with security audits. "There are few companies in the industry that really do that. We happen to be one of them," he said.

Furthermore, Thompson noted that Symantec is a key Microsoft partner; the companies share millions of customers. "We make the Windows experience secure, and therefore, there is a mutual dependency between us and Microsoft," he said. "While they may have an interest in the security market, they also have an interest in us being successful."

 

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