The Symantec-Huawei Technologies joint venture has reportedly broken down because the American IT security giant feared its affiliation with the Chinese telecommunications equipment maker would prevent it from obtaining classified information from the US government about cyber threats.
Quoting sources familiar with the matter, The New York Times reported on Monday that Symantec's decision came as a pre-planned political move to coincide with the US government's efforts to share more classified cyber threat information with the private sector. The sources, who declined to be named because they were not authorised to speak, added that Symantec was "worried" its ties to Huawei would put the IT security vendor at a disadvantage with the US government.
The joint venture, called Huawei Symantec Technologies, was formed in 2007 to develop and distribute security and storage appliances to telecommunications carriers and enterprises worldwide. In November last year, both companies announced Symantec would sell its 49 per cent stake in this company to Huawei for US$530 million. Symantec CEO and President Enrique Salem said in the statement: "Symantec achieved the objectives we set four years ago and exit the joint venture with a good returns on our investment, increased penetration into China, and a growing appliance business."
This handover is expected to be processed over the next two weeks. According to The New York Times report, sources said Huawei earlier this month laid off several workers in the Huawei-Symantec offices in Silicon Valley and was planning to move its entire operations out of the US, mostly because of increased American government oversight.
While Symantec declined to comment, Huawei spokesperson William Plummer told the American Daily that both companies enjoyed a "positive experience" in the joint venture. He added that Huawei would streamline the organisation market by market including the United States.
In the November statement, Salem described China as one of Symantec's fastest growing markets, growing 46 per cent over its last three fiscal years. He said the IT security vendor remained committed to ongoing investment in China and to building "additional relationships in the region".
The US government in November initiated an investigation to assess national security threats from the presence China's networking vendors in the country, including Huawei and ZTE. American lawmakers also had called for investigation into the Chinese company for supplying sensitive technology to Iran and violating a 2010 sanction law. Huawei, however, dismissed the probe and said it had been based on "inaccurate media reports".
Via ZDNet Asia