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Merged Symantec takes its time setting prices

Symantec says it could take a year for it to work out how much to charge for its expanded portfolio.

It could take a year for Symantec to sort out a common pricing strategy after its merger with Veritas Software.

For now, the security company will continue with its current pricing strategy while it works "really hard" on deciding what the models will be for the many diverse products in the new $5.1 billion Symantec portfolio, company executives said on Wednesday.

The comment came as Symantec set out its postmerger strategy, in which it aims to capitalize on the joint worth of the two companies.

"The overlap (between the two companies) is quite small," said Lindsey Armstrong, Symantec's vice president for Europe, who described the security company as "a frequent acquirer." Frequent acquirers tend to outperform the market, she said, predicting solid growth for the company.

But while advertising the merits of Symantec, Armstrong admitted that licensing was an issue. "We are looking at a range of licensing models," she said. "We have shown what we plan to do now, in six months and in a year. This is definitely in the year range."

The problem for the company is its diverse range of pricing models. Symantec security products have been sold in a variety of ways--from a store product for a single user, up to a site license for thousands of users. Veritas products have tended to be sold on a per-CPU model, where companies are charged according to how many central processing units are involved.

That model has become more controversial with the advent of multicore processors. Companies such as Oracle have opted to charge on a per-core basis, rather than per-processor, raising prices.

Symantec has experimented with per-CPU pricing, said John Poulter, Symantec's vice president for Northern Europe. He added that the company would probably continue to see different pricing models for different products.

Colin Barker of ZDNet UK reported from London.