Bye-bye, Dr. Solomon's

U.S. anti-virus specialist Network Associates, which completed its acquisition of UK rival Dr Solomon's this week has confirmed that it will only support Dr Solomon's products for another 12 months.

U.S. anti-virus specialist Network Associates, which completed its acquisition of UK rival Dr Solomon's this week has confirmed that it will only support Dr Solomon's products for another 12 months.

Network Associates will not issue a Toolkit 8.0. Instead, the first offering in a merged product line combining Dr Solomon's anti-virus engine with Network Associates' user interface, is due to arrive in October.

New anti-virus products for the Internet will follow early next year, according to Graham Cluley, manager of Network Associates' anti-virus centre in Europe. The products will be released six months earlier than planned, because it had been "very easy" to integrate the two product lines.

Support for existing versions of Dr Solomon's anti-virus toolkit will be discontinued from September 1999. Until then, Dr Solomon's customers will continue to receive new virus drivers and technical support.

Cluley confirmed the merger would mean redundancies, mostly among Dr Solomon's administrative, marketing and manufacturing staff. Internal sources put the figure at 400, though this was not confirmed. Network Associates is retaining Dr Solomon's technical staff in Aylesbury in development and support of the new products. Work on the merged products will be split between Dr Solomon's developers in the UK and Network Associates developers in the US. Gene Hodges, Network Associate's vice-president marketing for anti-virus and security, claimed future prospects for Dr Solomon's technical staff were "fairly bright".

Cluley denied Dr Solomon's independence was compromised by the merger. "Network Associates is as independent as Bilbo Baggins down the road. Dr Solomons is no longer British-owned, but it hasn't been for quite some time - since it floated on NASDAQ."

Hodges said that Dr Solomon's had not lost customers as a result of the merger: "We have had phone calls from customers who had heard bad information from competitors, and that will continue, but we haven't had customers walk away worried. Customers are going to be excited to hear that new products are coming out sooner than anticipated."