Biting Back: Symantec Snaps Up Altiris

Last month, we wrote a Redmond magazine cover story on Microsoft's treatment of some of its key third-party ISV partners -- how Microsoft of late has been buying the good ones up or entering their particular markets ferociously with their own products and services. The result? We are seeing more third parties going out of business, and many in the industry contend this means less innovation and fewer buying choices for IT pros.

One player we discussed was Altiris, which competes with -- and complements -- Microsoft's SMS and MOM systems management offerings. Interesting development this week: Altiris got acquired, but not by Microsoft. No, Symantec snapped up this gem of a company for a cool $830 million, setting the stage for some interesting jousting between the security giant and the folks in Redmond.

Symantec's relationship with Microsoft has never been the same since the Windows giant declared security one its next frontiers and busily went about assembling products such as anti-virus software -- much of it through third-party acquisition (think Sybari and Antigen). If the Altiris acquisition gets through final regulatory approval, Symantec hits back at Microsoft in the IT and asset management space; Altiris' solutions manage network end points, managing and configuring devices from desktops to laptops and other mobiles. Coupled with Symantec's security software, the combined company will sport a much more comprehensive solution for securing and managing devices.

This is a huge pain point for IT professionals, who are continually trying to stay ahead of security woes exacerbated by an increasingly mobile workforce. Microsoft, for its part, is getting a little taste of its own medicine here, but will no doubt find some way to respond to the Symantec-Altiris coupling.

What do you think of the Symantec-Altiris deal? Write to me at

About the Author

Carolyn April is the executive editor of features for Redmond magazine.


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