Juniper and Symantec link up but deny merger rumours

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Symantec’s team up with Juniper Networks to develop and market integrated security solutions is not a prelude to a takeover, the CEOs of both firms said this month.

The two companies have announced plans to jointly-develop unified threat management (UTM) solutions for enterprise customers as well as intrusion protection systems (IPS) and standards-based integrated access control and endpoint compliance solutions (see IT Weekly 16- 22 September 2006).

Juniper’s J-Security team and Symantec’s Global Intelligence Network will collaborate on security and threat research as well as sales and marketing efforts. In a conference call discussing the deal, both Scott Kriens, CEO of Juniper Networks, and John Thompson, CEO of Symantec, said the proposed partnership would extend no further.

“A lot of these M&A deals get done for the convenience of the companies or to rescue somebody from an otherwise dire fate. That just doesn’t make for good deals or good partnerships,” Kriens said.

“100% of what we can do is going to be available in the partnership as is,” he added.

Symantec’s Thompson said that a merger had never been “the topic of discussion” between the two firms.

“While there will certainly be speculation on that point, I can assure that Symantec is fully occupied with the work we’ve had to do over the past year in integrating Veritas,” he claimed.

Earlier this month, Cisco and Microsoft announced that they were also to team up on developing integrated security solutions (see IT Weekly 16 –22 November 2006).

Thompson said in the conference call that Symantec and Juniper’s agreement was “far more extensive” than the Cisco-Microsoft announcement.

However, industry watchers this month said that both Symantec and Juniper were under greater pressure in the security space as a result of stronger initiatives by other firms, with both Cisco and

Microsoft having already made incursions into this space before they had announced their partnership.

As part of the partnership both companies will dedicate engineering resources to enhancing Juniper’s UTM and IDP products.

In the short term Juniper’s Integrated Security Platforms will include Symantec’s security content, including its anti-spam, Information device profile (IDP)/IPS signatures and vulnerability information and research. In the longer term the companies will develop anti-virus and threat protection capabilities for the solution.

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