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Symantec

An ambitious Symantec has been beefing up its security prowess and expanding its offerings through acquisitions.The Symantec-Veritas merger announced in December 2004 was one of the biggest software acquisitions in history.

An ambitious Symantec has been beefing up its security prowess and expanding its offerings through acquisitions.

The Symantec-Veritas merger announced in December 2004 was one of the biggest software acquisitions in history. Within days after Symantec added the storage specialist to its security offerings in a deal worth US$13.5 billion, Chief Executive Officer John Thompson announced its buying spree was set to continue.

True to its words, Symantec picked up anti-piracy and software licensing company XtreamLok in May, security compliance specialist Sygate in August and antiphishing firm WholeSecurity in September. Its latest acquisition, Bindview, is a player in security compliance. Prior to the Symantec-Veritas mega-merger, Symantec also acquired a string of companies, including Brightmail, ON Technology and SafeWeb.

The security vendor has, from time to time, been in the spotlight for flaws in its antivirus software, including its flagship product Norton AntiVirus. Flaws in the backup software under the Veritas brand have similarly been highlighted.

But that hasn't stopped Symantec from consistently posting strong financials. Its revenue jumped from US$1.1 billion in 2002 to US$2.6 billion in 2005, while its average net income growth over the last four years is 360 percent.

Symantec's strong performance, though, could be challenged by impending contender Microsoft, which has announced a beta version of its business security software product to be released at the end of the year. While it is still early days to tell how Symantec will hold up against this threat, the company is not planning to sit and wait for competition to worm in. Symantec is looking to capitalize on the new technologies made available by its merger with Veritas, such as Web-based backup systems. It has also partnered Nokia in the area of mobile security.