Veritas boss outlines new opportunities

NEW YORK — While Oracle is mass-mailing pink slips to PeopleSoft employees, Veritas Software Corp. CEO Gary Bloom stressed that the merger with Symantec is about “opportunities and not layoffs.”

In a question and answer period for media following Veritas’s product launch for

its next version of Backup Exec software, Bloom said the merger, expected to close in the second calendar quarter of 2005, is an opportunity to take two companies and do something bigger and better.

“(The merger) is centred around the integration of employees and is not about cuts,” said Bloom, who made a stop in New York before heading out to Veritas’s annual North America sales conference in Atlanta, Ga. “It’s a little harder message to deliver in the shadow of the Oracle PeopleSoft merger.”

In a flurry of software mergers last month, Symantec announced that it would acquire storage software vendor Veritas for US $13.5 billion, making it the largest transaction in software history.

“The software industry has not seen a transaction of this size,” said Bloom, adding that mergers usually involve a big company buying a smaller one or a successful company buying a broken one.

As for his future role at the combined company, which will retain the name Symantec, Bloom said he will be vice-chairman of the board at Symantec where his responsibilities will include customer-facing strategies and strategic alliances.

In terms of Veritas as a brand, the company said it will exist under the Symantec name such as Symantec Norton Anti-Virus for example.

Fred Dimson, general manager and director of operations for Veritas Software Canada Inc., who couldn’t attend Tuesday’s event because of the Atlanta sales conference, said Veritas will be discussing the direction of the two companies this week.

Asked in a telephone interview about the merger, Dimson said: “Both companies are leaders and are synergistic. Both companies are channel-centric and use the same distributors. The merger makes a huge company.”

Dimson added he doesn’t know what his new role will be under the combined company.

The two companies earlier this week also announced that they have set an integration team in place, which will led by Veritas chief financial officer Ed Gillis. Gillis is responsible for establishing the integration management office and forming joint teams to begin the integration process.

The joint teams will be focused on planning for the sales, services and business development structure; outlining the lines of business and developing the technology roadmap; detailing the combined company’s go-to-market plans; integrating the services and support organizations; and combining the finance, infrastructure and legal operations, according to the firms.

Symantec and Veritas have also enlisted PricewaterhouseCoopers to provide merger and acquisition services and Bain and Company to help with customer facing functions.

Neither Bloom nor other Veritas execs attending the New York event provided any further details on the integration plans.

In an earlier announcement, former Veritas vice-president of Americas partner sales Michael Sotnick has left his post to head up enterprise software vendor SAP America’s SMB effort. Art Matin, executive vice-president of worldwide sales at Veritas, who came from McAfee, is serving Sotnick’s role in the interim. Veritas said it has plans to hire someone to replace Sotnick but didn’t give any specific dates.

Nick Foster, marketing vice-president of Toronto-based Softchoice Corp., both a Veritas and Symantec partner, said nothing has changed in Canada since Sotnick’s departure.

“(Art) has been around a long time and knows the security space quite well,” said Foster in a telephone interview. “He’s pretty knowledgeable on the channel.”

Veritas Tuesday announced the latest releases in its portfolio of SMB offerings including Backup Exec 10.0 for Windows server software and a new integrated Windows data protection suite called Veritas Backup Exec 10.0 Suite, which combines Veritas Replication Exec 3.1 and Veritas Storage Exec 5.3.

In support of that announcement, Veritas also introduced new partner education programs, which will be available to its 15,000 partners worldwide through Veritas Sales Professional Program and Veritas Vitual Academy. Virtual Academy is a Web-based tool that provides partners with live Web casts, hands-on labs and mentoring on Veritas products and technology.

“Veritas’s marketing strategy is to educate the SMB on how to deploy comprehensive data protection,” said Julie Parrish, vice-president of channel marketing at Veritas, who attended the New York event.

Veritas plans to host a series of Web casts starting Jan. 19 to provide technical overviews and training on the Backup Exec 10.0 Suite.

Backup Exec 10.0 offers small and medium business customers the ability to centrally manage Windows backup servers through a single console, and faster disk-based backups and restores. It includes continuous data protection and fast disk-based recovery via synthetic backup and off-host backup. Synthetic backup allows users to combine smaller incremental backups into a synthetic full backup, saving them time and consuming less network bandwidth.

The new software also offers users scalability with features such as Backup Exec SmartLink Technology, which allows IT staff to centrally manage multiple tasks at once, and Central Administration Server Option, which provides a single console to manage multiple Backup Exec servers across the organization.

Veritas Backup Exec 10.0 now supports Red Hat and Suse Linux servers and Sun Solaris Unix servers in addition to Microsoft Windows and Novell NetWare servers.

Available immediately, Backup Exec 10.0 starts at US$895. The suite, which includes Backup Exec, Replication Exec and Storage Exec, starts at US$4,280.

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