new Norton accellerates

“in our health-conscious society, viruses of any type are an enemy. Just as proper diet, exercise and preventative health care can add years to your life, prudent and cost-effective anti-virus strategies can minimize your exposure to computer viruses” (Symantec, 1999)

Friday, January 2, 2009

Follow up!

Further deepening on Symantec' SWOT analysis soon available.

Symantec' SWOT analysis

Market leadership in security software
Stable growth
Focus on research and development
Stong technical support division
Unique product portfolio

Some alarming operating results
High U.S. dependence
Reputation to be an heavy program
Low control on indirect sales channels

Improved operating efficiency
Recent acquisitions
Emerging markets

Fierce competition
Software piracy

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Symantec's considerations about McAfee

To the question “What do you think of McAfee, often viewed as your rival?”. John Thompson’s answer: “It is a nice little company and they do a nice job. The industry needs competition. But we do not see their portfolio as competing directly with ours. We help customers manage their infrastructures better.”

Symantec's business model

Symantec is a global leader in infrastructure software with the mission of “enabling customers to have confidence in their connected experiences”. Symantec software helps people to protect their infrastructure and their information by delivering software and services that handle risks to information security, availability, compliance, and IT system performance. The offer is delivered to customers, enterprises and also governments. (Partners are more than 50,000 worldwide) There are more than 50,000 partners worldwide and privileged relationships are also with several OEMs and ISPs, retailers and online stores. The company operates in 2 growing and diversified markets: the security market and the storage software market. After the acquisition of Veritas in July 2005, Symantec also became the leader supplier of storage software. This new segment consists of storage management, server and application management, backup and archiving, and infrastructure software product and services.
A sustainable growth is pursued mainly by:
• Research and development. That includes enhancing existing products, responding to changing customer requirements, and developing and introducing new products. The company is organized by separate product development teams, each of which held responsibility for design, development, documentation and quality assurance. The product development teams work with the support of the marketing teams that is always looking for new opportunities. Symantec Research Labs (SRL) is a team designed to develop new technologies and products. The company has 9 R&D centers in the U.S. and other two in Tokyo and Beijing. The Symantec Security Response Team is responsible for collecting and analyzing the latest malware threats and vulnerability. The reactiveness of this team in discovering zero-day threats determines the company brand equity and trustworthiness. In the 2008 the R&D expenses were $895.2Mn (15% of the total revenues), an increasing of 3% respect to 2007.
• Acquisitions. The company made totally 56 acquisitions during its history. The factors driving the decision are: acquiring a particular technology, group of people, products, increase the time to market and the market share. Although sometimes there can be overlaps in the technology acquired (see with PC Tools), a deal was always worthwhile when there are complementary products than can broaden the Symantec products portfolio or when the target company has a presence in emerging markets.

McAfee's considerations about Symantec

McAfee proclaims itself as the “world’s largest dedicated security technology company”. During an interview with the McAfee vice-president global mid-market business, Darrell Rodenbaugh, to the question “What sets McAfee apart from your biggest competitor, Symantec?” his answer was:
“We have a single minded focus on security. We wake up everyday thinking, worrying about and doing a lot of work around how to deliver the best security for our customers. We are not distracted by other lines of business that do not have anything to do with security. Our challenge has been in educating our customers and doing a better job of making our customers and partners more aware of the capabilities we deliver. Last quarter the Bank of America decided to move forward with McAfee and they were an existing Symantec customer. In the banking industry there are huge pressures around costs. The Bank of America made a very expensive decision to say they were not going to use Symantec anymore. It was driven largely by the difficulty in Symantec's upgrade cycle. We also focus a lot on the customer experience and I think that distinguishes us from them.”

McAfee's business model

McAfee mission is “proactively secures systems and networks from known and as yet undiscovered threats worldwide”. Contrariwise to Symantec, that has business units also in Storage and ITOM (information technology operations management), McAfee focused from the beginning on computer security solutions. Acquisitions and business unites sales always followed this principle. Symantec’s total revenues (2007) were over $5 billion but only $2,768.5 billion were made in the security markets while McAfee’s total revenue were $1,308,2 billion of which $1,225.7 billion on the security market.

McAfee offerings address security in three key aspects:
• End point protection: security solution for servers, desktop and laptop computer, devices that are entry and exit points for corporate systems and network, handheld voice and data phones.
• Data protection: security measures for data residing on various devices that prevent data loss through unauthorized transmission or distribution.
• Network protection: englobe the end point protection and it is extended also to email and web protection, spam filters, virus, spyware, worms.

waiting for copyright

Before publishing all the results, as promised, I want to prevent any fool behaviour and wait for the copyright.
Many apologies to who is waiting for this document. I hope you understand.

Meanwhile, you can take a look at some new interesting posts.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Results and discussion of the research will be available in a few days.

If you want, you can leave your email and I'll contact you the day I will post them.

Data collection

The data collection lasted 10 days, from 13th October till the 23rd (2008).
A prominent support came from (a NYT subsidiary). Mary Landesman, the admin of the website, helped my enormously promoting my survey through the web. She wrote a post in the main page of the website introducing my research and inviting people to join the survey. She posted the link also into her blog, forum, in the weekly newsletters and she asked other websites of the industry to host my questionnaire. In terms of numbers that contribution turned in approximately 550 responses. Likewise I collected approximately 300 responses by personal means; 857 questionnaires were totally gathered; 189 completed the questionnaire by means of the paper version while 668 individuals completed the survey online.
At the beginning of the summer 2008 I created a blog:; In the central period of the data collection I wrote several posts and I promoted the blog through the web. The achievement of the 7th position in the ranking of “TopOfBlogs” gave me visibility, traffic and data.
To collect other relevant opinions I asked the support to 3 banks of my city (Banca delle Marche, Unicredit Banca, CARISAP, all located in Civitanova Marche) 2 accounting studios and other small offices.
Other data were collected at the university, at the library, through Facebook, MySpace, Windows Live Messenger and Skype.
The vast amount of responses brought by industry blog surfers generated a sharp discrepancy between the quantity of expert and non expert responses. To fill up the gap and to reach the final 40% of non experts and 60% of experts I went to 2 high schools, other 88 responses were supplied from eighteens.

Questionnaire design

In order to test my hypotheses, a questionnaire was used. The questionnaire was created using “Google Docs-Form”. The use of Google Form allows for easier data gathering and distribution. The reason for this is that it creates a link, which can easily be copied and pasted on e-mails or bulletin boards. Once respondents filled in the survey, Google will progressively updated the data on a spreadsheet. Therefore, data input mistakes are very unlikely in this case. Other responses are paper-based because I wanted to take advantage of the high traffic of places such as libraries and university lecture halls. This allowed me to gather a large number of responses in a short time.
The questionnaire was developed in two languages: English and in Italian. English allows more global respondents to participate in the survey. Italian facilitates responses in my personal environment.
Variables are measured mostly by a 5-item Likert scale. Since respondents are hardly enthusiastic in joining surveys I avoided the 7-items scale because it slows down filling out the questionnaire. The basic format is therefore: 1 Strongly disagree, 2 Disagree, 3 Neither agree nor disagree, 4 Agree, 5 Strongly Agree.
Some respondents may be not familiar with some names or concepts within the questionnaire; but all computer users are potential consumers of an antivirus company since in the future they may have to make decisions for the security of their computer. This process would be tortuous for them, but they would have to make their considerations and make a rational decision according to their low or zero-knowledge. Their answers represent an important component of my research as do those of expert users. A short description of the questionnaire and its aims were provided at the beginning of the form, since it was important to me that the respondents felt free to make their choices.
I included three demographical queries at the beginning of the questionnaire: gender, age and profession. Profession was divided into 4 categories: student, employee, professional or other. These aspects are used to describe the sample characteristics (5.5.2) and filter the sample to test my hypotheses based on a particular segment.
The segmentation between the expert and non-expert user is a core point. The beginning of the questionnaire poses 4 queries to understand the degree of expertise of the respondent. These include a self-evaluation of his general expertise and the selection of known antivirus programs. Paragraph 5.5.2 explains how I interpreted these answers and successively identified the two clusters.
The contribution of each question in testing each singular hypothesis is as follows:
- The general perception of the antivirus, its activity levels (H1-b) and the resulting computer slowdowns (H1-a) are measured in question 5 and 6. Both are multiple choice questions with four items.
- The independent variables “Ease to use” (H2-a), “lightness” (H2-b) and “quality of graphic interface” (H2-c) are investigated in question 7a-b-c with a 5 point semantic differential scale.
- The Update process (H3) is studied in question 8 with a five point Likert scale.
- The assigned importance of innovative protection (H4) such as P2P protection, Instant Messaging protection and registry start-up protection is tested in question 9-a-b-c with the Likert 5 point scale.
- The different tools of technical support (H5-b) and their relative perceived effectiveness are examined in question 10a-b-c-d-e (Likert 5Ps). The costs of the technical support (H5-a) are studied in questions 11 and 12-a-b-c (Likert-5).
- The relationship between IT expertise, gender, loyalty towards an antivirus (H6, H7) is investigated in question 13 with a Likert 5 points scale.
- The relationship between IT expertise and “industry leaders”, “second tiers” or “followers” usage (H8-a) is studied in question 14 with a multiple choice method. The relation between IT expertise and the likelihood to switch from a segment of antivirus to the others (H8-b,c) is studied in question 17.
- Attitudes towards freeware and shareware software and the relationship with the level of IT expertise (H10-a,b) are studied in question 18 by three queries. A short remark that explains the differences between the two software categories is provided. The scale of measurement is Likert 5 point scale. The reliability of the answers is strengthen by question 15 which asks if the user is currently paying for the antivirus. A disturbing element is given by the possibility that the consumer is not paying because he’s using pirated software. Question 16 (true/false) investigates the user attitude towards pirated software. (H13)
- Question 18c investigates the awareness of freeware (H11).
- Consumer perceptions over the all-in-one suites (H9-a,b,c) is investigated in questions 19 and 20 by 3 queries, answerable through a Likert 5 points scale.
- The role of the consumer price sensitivity and the different perspectives (if they exist) between expert (H12-a) and non expert users (H12-b) are examined in question 21.