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Symantec to spin out Net tools unit

Software developer Symantec says it plans to spin out its Internet tools business unit to push its e-commerce and Web capabilities presence in the enterprise market.

Software developer Symantec today said it plans to spin out its Internet tools business unit to push its e-commerce and Web capabilities presence in the enterprise market.

Symantec said in a statement that the new, independent company will focus on providing e-commerce applications and technology for Web-based business systems.

"There's little synergy between the Internet tools business and the other businesses at Symantec," said Symantec chief executive John W. Thompson in an interview with "Given the need for our company to have laser-like focus on the appropriate set of buyers and users of our technology, this was the best way to create that kind of focus."

Thompson said he hopes to take the new Internet tools company public within a year. The Internet tools division currently makes less than 10 percent of Symantec's overall revuenue, he said. About 120 out of Symantec's total of 2,450 employees currently work in the Internet tools division.

"This is a chance for us to play in the Internet space and create [good] returns for our shareholders and for our people," Thompson said.

Last month, the Cupertino, California-based company had said it set plans to add new technology to its Visual Cafe Enterprise Suite intended to save Java developers time and make it easier for them to target application servers from multiple vendors.

In today's announcement, Symantec said that its new company will also continue development and support of the Visual Caf? product line. Citing PC Data, Symantec said that its Internet tools unit has increased its share of the Java market from 33 percent to 56 percent in the past year.

With the new company, Symantec intends to leverage its Web technologies in the enterprise market by helping businesses integrate the Web within their existing business systems as well as help them move on to using Web-based applications, Mansour Safai, vice president of the new Internet unit said in a statement.

Symantec, which also develops antivirus and PC tools, said that by setting up two separate companies, it will be able to focus on the needs of its two "very different" buying groups.

The company said that the market for "sell-side" e-commerce software is projected to grow to $1.4 billion by 2002, citing Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Forrester Research.'s Wylie Wong contributed to this report.