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Type: Public
Industry: Computer Software & Security
Founded: 1982
Founder(s): Gary Hendrix
Headquarters: Mountainview, California
Country: USA
Employees: 18,600 as of 2011 [1]
Revenue: $5.9 million as of 2010 [2]
Facebook: Symantec
LinkedIn: Symantec
Twitter: TwitterIcon.png@symantec
Key People
John W. Thompson, Chairman
Enrique T. Salem, CEO

Symantec is an international security, storage, and systems management solutions company. The company has approximately 18, 6000 employees in 50 countries as of 2011. Its headquarters is located in Mountainview, California. Enrique T. Salem is the current CEO of the company.


Dr. Gary Hedricks, a natural language and artificial intelligence expert together with a group of researchers from Stanford University, established Symantec in 1982. The company used a grant provided by the National Science Foundation as initial capital to develop new software and a database program. In 1983, some venture capitalists interested in artificial intelligence provided additional funding to Hendrix. Dennis Coleman and Gordon E. Eubanks, Jr., co-founders of C&E software, agreed to merge their company with Symantec in 1984. Symantec retained its name for the joint company and Eubanks became its CEO. John Doerr, a venture capitalist, believed that Symantec had great potential and thus provided further capital and became a member of its board of directors. In 1985, Symantec introduced its first produc,t called Q&A, a flat-file database management software program compatible with IBM personal computers. The company sold $8 million worth of product for its first two years but the company was expecting better sales results. This prompted Eubanks to establish the company’s Turner Hall Publishing division to publish third-party software. By October 1985, Note-It, a notation utility for Lotus 1-2-3, was published by Turner Hall. [3]

In 1987, Symantec acquired different companies such as Breakthrough Software, developer of Timeline- a project management program compatible with IBM PCs; Living Videotext, developer of ThinkTank- a graphic presentation program for Macintosh and Grandview- an information management program for personal computers; Think Technologies, developer of programming languages THINK C and THINK Pascal for the Macintosh. The company also developed InBox, an electronic mail system. Symantec made its initial public offering on June 23, 1989, on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the ticker symbol SYMC.[4]

The following year, Symantec acquired Peter Norton Computing Inc., a pioneer in developing DOS-based utility software, known as the Norton Utilities, which were used to backup and compress files and to check for viruses and restore lost data. Peter Norton Computing Inc., became a division of Symantec and it was renamed Peter Norton Computing Group.[5]

In 1991, Symantec acquired purchased Leonard Development Group, developer of GreatWorks; an integrated software applications program for Macintosh; [6] Zortech Inc., developer of cross-platform C++ programming language compilers [7] and Dynamic Microprocessor Associated Inc., developer of pcANYWHERE, a remote control communications software product for personal computers.[8]

Symantec started its international operations in 1991 by opening a manufacturing plant in Ireland and an administrative center in the Netherlands. In 1992, Symantec UK became the company’s exclusive distributor in the United Kingdom. In 1994, Symantec established a network of more than 150 partners around the world and began selling translated versions of its more than 120 software products. In 1995, Symantec released the Norton Antivirus, Norton Utilities and Norton Navigator, simultaneous with Microsoft's launch of Windows 95. In 1997, the company established its Anti-Virus Research Center while its Networking Business Unit assets were sold to Hewlett and Packard.[9]

In 1999, John W. Thompson became Chairman, President and CEO of Symantec after Eubanks stepped down from his position.[10] Thompson retired from his position as CEO of the company on April 3, 2009, although he remained Chairman. He was succeeded by Enrique Salem.[11] On February 15, 2011, Symantec was inducted into the Small Business Administration (SBA) Hall of Fame.[12]

Recent Acquisitions

The company's most recent acquisitions include:[13]

  • Clearwell- June, 2011
  • RuleSpace- October ,2010
  • VeriSign's Security Business- August, 2010
  • PGP- June, 2010
  • GuardianEdge- June, 2010
  • Gideon Technologies- January, 2010
  • SoftScan- October, 2009
  • Mi5 Networks- March, 2009

Hacking Incident

On January 17, 2012, Symantec Spokesman Chris Paden admitted that a hacker with the code name “Yama Tough” stole the source code of Norton Security Software, specifically the source codes for the 2006 versions of Norton Antivirus Corporate Edition, Norton Internet Security, Norton Utilities, Norton GoBack and pcAnywhere. He recanted an earlier statement made by the company that its’ networks had not been compromised when Yama Tough released the code for the Norton Utilities and promised that it will also release the code for Norton Antivirus software. Yama Tough also claimed in his Twitter account that “the code for pcAnywhere is being released to blackhat community.”[14]

According to Paden, pcAnywhere consumers might face a slightly increased security risk because of the situation and the company is reaching out to its customers and providing them information about the issue and remedies to ensure the security of their devices and information. [15]


Some of the company's products and services include:[16]

  • Altiris Client Management Suite
  • BackupExec
  • Brightmail Gatewnay
  • Enterprise Vault
  • NetBackup
  • Norton AntiVirus
  • Norton 360
  • Norton Internet Security
  • Symantec Control Compliance Suite
  • Symantec Critical System Protection
  • Symantec Data Loss Preventio
  • Symantec Endpoint Protection
  • Symantec Ghost
  • Public key certificates
  • Veritas Cluster Server
  • Veritas Storage Foundation

Legal Battle

Copyright Infringement Against McAfee

In April 1997, Symantec filed a copyright infringement case against McAfee Associates Inc. (now Network Associates Inc.). According to the allegations filed by the company, the codes of the Norton CrashGuard were stolen by McAfee to develop PC Medic.[17] In July, Symantec included McAfee's VirusScan products in the lawsuit. McAfee responded with a $ 1 billion defamation lawsuit against Symantec.[18] By December, McAfee dropped its defamation case against Symantec after the court ruled against Symantec's motion for injunction again PC Medic. McAfee said it will fight Symantec's copy infringement case in court.[19] In 1999, Symantec and McAfee made a confidential agreement.[20]

Cybermedia Lawsuit

In February 1998, Cybermedia filed a lawsuit against Symantec for copyright infringement and theft of trade secrets. Cybermedia alleged that Symantec's Norton Uninstall Deluxe was based on Cybermedia's early version of its UnInstaller program. Cybermedia vice president for marketing Bob Davis said, "In visual appearance, operation and design, Symantec's product is strikingly similar to an early version of UnInstaller, right down to some of the same computer bugs." [21] In response, then Symantec president and CEO Gordon Eubanks said that the charges filed by Cybermedia were "frivolous and a marketing ploy." According to Eubanks, "We find this to be setting a new standard of outrageousness in law by CyberMedia." Symantec explained that the features of Norton's Uninstaller Deluxe were similar to Cybermedia's product because the programmers of both companies used the same tools. However, Symantec pointed out that the codes they used were licensed by Microsoft.[22] In 1999, both companies agreed to settle the lawsuit. Their agreement was not disclosed to the public.[23]

Class Action Lawsuit

In 2008, a class action lawsuit was filed against Symantec. The complainants claimed that Symantec illegally terminated their subscription time after purchasing the Norton computer security software product upgrade without providing credit or a refund. They also alleged that the automatic cancellation of their subscription time was not disclosed in the company's policy.[24] Symantec settled the case and agreed to pay each complainant with a $15 voucher for future purchase or $2.50 cash.[25]

Uniloc USA, Inc. Patent Infringement Case

In 2010, Uniloc USA, Inc. filed a patent infringement case against Symantec along with CA Technologies and Safenet. Uniloc claimed that the three companies used its patented "System for Software Registration," an anti-piracy product activation method and system with patent number 5,490,216[26]

Symantec and ICANN

Adam Palmer, Norton's Cyber Security Advisor, is an active participant in ICANN's activities.[27] In 2009, Symantec together with ICANN, Microsoft and other leaders in the Information Technology industry participated in an investigation about Cyber Crimes conducted by the House of Representatives Communications Committee at NSW Parliament House in Sydney, Australia.[28] In 2011, VeriSign Authentication Services, a division sold off by the world's largest registry, Verisign, to Symantec, submitted a motion to ICANN asking for it to allow the company the power to terminate the activities of abusive .com domain names. The motion is to be posted by ICANN for public comment.[29] Symantec acquired Verisign's Security Business in 2010.[30]


  1. Financials
  2. Financials
  3. Symantec Corporation History
  4. Symantec Investor Relations FAQs
  5. Acquisition of Peter Norton Computing
  6. InfoWorld Jun 24, 1991, Symantec Offers Unified Suite of Mac Applications
  7. InfoWorld Aug 19, 1991, Symantec Buys Buys Zorteck, Offers Compilers
  8. COMPANY NEWS; Symantec Is Set To Acquire DMA
  9. Symantec at 25
  10. Symantec Corporation Appoints John W. Thompson, Senior IBM Executive, as President, CEO and Chairman
  11. Symantec CEO John Thompson to retire
  12. Symantec Recognized By Small Business Administration
  13. Company Acquisitions
  14. Yama Tough Twitter Account
  15. Symantec backtracks, admits own network hacked
  16. Products
  17. Symantec Launches Lawsuit Against McAfee for Copyright Infringement
  18. Bitter Foes Symantec, McAfee Fan Feud
  19. Network Associates Won't Sue Symantec
  20. Symantec and Network Associates Settle Litigation
  21. Cybermedia Sues Symantec for Copyright Infringement, Theft of Trade Secrets
  22. Symantec rips CyberMedia suit
  23. Symantec and Network Associates Settle Litigation
  24. Symantec faces class action suit over upgrade offers
  25. Norton settles class-action lawsuit
  26. Small Firm Files Patent Infringement Lawsuit Against Symantec, CA Technologies, and SafeNet
  27. Meet Norton’s Cyber Security Advisor
  28. Microsoft, Symantec, McAfee, banks and consumers to front Cyber Crime Inquiry
  29. VeriSign Wants Full Control Over All .Com Domains in the World
  30. Symantec Completes Acquisition of VeriSign’s Security Business