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Veritas: Layoffs will be limited

The merger with Symantec will mainly have an impact on back-office operations, executives say.

Symantec and Veritas Software have gone to great lengths to allay fears of huge job losses as a result of the merger but there will be casualties, Veritas executives say.

Approximately 400 employees out of a 13,000 worldwide work force are expected to lose their jobs when enterprise storage software maker Veritas Software and security product provider Symantec become one.

Gary Bloom, Veritas's chief executive, said the combined company will have between 2.5 percent and 3 percent in work force duplication. "Back-office functions such as administration will be most impacted," he said.

"On a country level, we haven't settled on anything, but we're going to look at what is the best and most capable team to put in place...We might operate as two separate organizations or just one," Bloom told Asia-Pacific journalists on Wednesday in New York after the launch of Veritas's Windows data protection suite.

At a press briefing on Tuesday, Robert Maness, a Veritas vice president, said the marriage between Symantec and Veritas was about innovation and not to "stuff up the competition and cut jobs like Oracle and PeopleSoft." Oracle plans to lay off 5,000 workers in a bid to cut costs.

The merged Symantec-Veritas will operate under the name Symantec, once its $13.5 billion merger is approved by regulators.

Maness also gave a strong indication that Veritas's products and accompanying brands will remain intact despite the impending change in ownership.

"Branding for the company is one thing; branding for products is another," he said. "Where we see value in the brand name from a product standpoint, we'll keep it. Look at Symantec. They didn't change or drop the Norton brand of antivirus software even after acquiring it."

For the third quarter of 2004, enterprise storage software maker Veritas was the leading global supplier of backup and archiving software with a 40 percent market share in terms of revenue, according to market research firm IDC. This was followed by Computer Associates at 19 percent and EMC at a distant 12 percent.

Maness described Symantec's popularity with home users and small businesses as an advantage, since it allows Veritas to tap into those markets more effectively. He also brushed aside comments that Symantec had a poor track record in customer service, especially to consumers.

Revenue of $5 billion is forecasted post-merger for Symantec and Veritas. Both companies expect to achieve cost savings of $100 million over the first four quarters after the deal is finalized, which the companies expect to happen in the second quarter of 2005.

In terms of the new management structure, John Thompson, Symantec's CEO, will assume the role of chairman and chief executive, while Bloom will be president and vice chairman.

Fran Foo reported for ZDNet Australia in Sydney.