Symantec stumbles amid customer deferrals, ERP installation

Symantec's fiscal third and fourth quarter results will fall short of expectations because of a combination of factors: --Weak performance in the company's data center management business, notable the company acquired when it bought Veritas;--Higher deferrals of enterprise maintenance contracts;--And higher costs from "the implementation of our new ERP system.

Symantec's fiscal third and fourth quarter results will fall short of expectations because of a combination of factors:

--Weak performance in the company's data center management business, notable the company acquired when it bought Veritas;

--Higher deferrals of enterprise maintenance contracts;

--And higher costs from "the implementation of our new ERP system."

The company cut its earnings estimate to 10 to 11 cents a share from 14 to 15 cents a share and its revenue forecast to $1.29 billion to $1.31 billion from $1.31 billion from $1.15 billion. Excluding items, the company lowered its earnings estimate to 24 to 25 cents a share from 29 to 30 cents, and its revenue projection to $1.30 billion to $1.32 billion from $1.32 billion to $1.35 billion. For fiscal fourth-quarter, the company expects adjusted earnings of 18 to 20 cents a share, below Thomson Financial estimates of 32 cents.

This leaves a few interesting questions unresolved:

--What was the cause of the deferrals? Slower spending in the enterprise?

--Are things just going to get worse amid a brewing antivirus price war?

--What happened with the ERP implementation and who was the vendor and consultants involved?

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