[German]Another short message for IT service providers and people who need licenses for Symantec security products. After Broadcom’s acquisition of Symantec, things are likely to go haywire and distributors will not be able to issue new licenses.
Symantec Acquisition by Broadcom
Symantec was sold some time ago for 10.7 billion US $ to the Broadcom. At the end of November 2019, I reported in my German article Symantec-Übernahme durch Broadcom abgeschlossen that Broadcom had declared the Symantec acquisition as completed.
Broadcom’s Symantec acquisition was completed today.
— Catalin Cimpanu (@campuscodi) November 5, 2019
See also the above tweet from November 2019. So much for the background story.
Something went terrible wrong
In mid of February 2020 I received this German comment from blog reader Sileniu reporting a disturbing experience. Here is my translation:
I spoke to Symantec support and a distributor and I am really speechless right now. Broadcom obviously doesn’t have the appropriate systems to manage license management. You can’t buy additional licenses right now! My distributor has about 1,200 customer inquiries that cannot be processed. There is exactly one more German-speaking member of the support staff, as apparently about half of the service MAs and developers have been laid off by Broadcom. Without words! After 15 years, I will probably have to look for alternatives for my customers.
The Swiss site IT Reseller has published an article (in German) on this topic here. The IT magazine got the information from an anonymous source. The short version: During the company takeover, Symantec Switzerland is said to have experienced massive layoffs. In addition, resellers are no longer be able to purchase new licenses for Symantec products since the takeover. Quote from the article:
A reseller of Symantec complains about huge problems with license purchase and license renewal
In combination with the reader’s comment above, a conclusive picture emerges: Broadcom’s systems for managing these licenses simply cannot do this – licenses probably cannot be renewed when they expire, new licenses cannot be purchased. This is confirmed by the two sources above for Switzerland and Germany.
It’s crashing worldwide
There is also this comment in my German blog that refers to a Symantec forum discussion. But the link is broken because Broadcom redirects its own forums and all links break. You will be redirected on such linkt to the text page of Broadcom with the following content:
Welcome to the Broadcom Community
3/2/20 – Please Read Update
Over the weekend, we migrated all users and content from the Symantec Connect Community into the Broadcom Community. Based on permission changes, updates and overnight indexing, please expect Website slowdowns. Apologies for any inconvenience.
@Jason McClellan Platform Manager
Catalin Cimpanu has just pointed this out on Twitter – although I didn’t immediately understand it.
Thanks Broadcom for breaking all the links for past Symantec reports
Was it really that f***ing hard to leave the domain intact? pic.twitter.com/RtavKkqk9y
— Catalin Cimpanu (@campuscodi) March 3, 2020
But when I read the second tweet from Catalin Cimpanu, I got the right puzzle pieces together and see the whole image:
Bunch of people are complaining on Reddit r/symantec about being unable to extend licenses or buy new ones
If I’m an ESET/Malwarebytes/Kaspersky/etc. sales person I know where I’m spending my next few days… wink wink, nod nod. pic.twitter.com/3XWJpMxeCO
— Catalin Cimpanu (@campuscodi) March 3, 2020
So this is exactly the topic I mentioned above and discussed in the comments on the blog. And because of the forum redirection, the Symantec discussion posts at Broadcom have probably disappeared.
So a complete failure – in my opinion, caused by the Broadcom management. Does the purchase pay off for Broadcom under these circumstances? Actually, Symantec customers can only flee under these circumstances, or how do you see it?
Ask about the Sense an take your Conclusions
Addenum: After publishing my German blog post and another article within German IT magazine heise, I had an interesting background talk. After a bit of research, some things are getting more clear to me.
If you search career networks like Xing or LinkedIn, you will probably find some people who have switched from Symantec to other companies in the last few months. If the numbers I ‘found’ are correct, the Symantec staff in Germany has been reduced from 110 to 20 people.
Ask: What’s the purpose of the takeover
I also did not understand the purpose of Broadcom’s acquisition of Symantec. Therefore, I assumed a complete failure above and asked whether the purchase would be worthwhile for Broadcom. Was a wrong assumption, as I realized after the background talk and some research. According to Wikipedia, Broadcom is a company that is active in many areas of communication.
Currently, the company’s website fails with ‘Bad Gateway’, but the compoany advertises as ‘Broadcom Inc. is a global technology leader that designs, develops and supplies semiconductor and infrastructure software solutions‘. And that’s where it gets exciting. Infrastructure software solutions means you’re sitting at the nodes for communication. Broadcom holds dozens of patents there.
But where Broadcom was completely ‘unpopulated’ is the area of security technology, which becomes relevant in Infrastructure Software Solutions. So, from Broadcom’s management point of view, the acquisition of Symantec was a strategic decision, because tey get the ‘patents and assets’ they need. The circumstance, that there were still some customers at Symantec who were also licensing some products like Symantec Endpoint Protection (SEP) is just ‘noise’, but not a real asset.
Tip for users: Realign your strategy
My article at heise rceivid a comment: ‘At Symantec, you can get trial licenses for 60 days, after that they will have fixed it’. Maybe, but it makes less sense for Broadcom. For customers using Symantec products, my source had a simple piece of advice:
‘Do a market evaluation, what else is there, evaluate the products and change if necessary. Having Symantec as a security software provider on the long term road map would be reckless.’
If I read the above analysis, it is a logical conclusion to switch to another vendor.