Symantec acquisition by Broadcom ends in license/support chaos

[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.


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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.

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:


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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.

But when I read the second tweet from Catalin Cimpanu, I got the right puzzle pieces together and see the whole image:

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.

Symantec layoff

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.


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14 Responses to Symantec acquisition by Broadcom ends in license/support chaos

  1. Pingback: Born: Broadcom botches the Symantec migration @ AskWoody

  2. Pingback: Spyware maker NSO runs scared from Facebook over WhatsApp hacking charges, fails to show up in court | Experimental Space

  3. Oksana says:

    We acknowledge the migration to Broadcom systems has been more difficult than we anticipated and apologize to all of our customers and partners for the challenges they have faced during this process. The good news is that systems are now transitioned, and authorized resellers can order Symantec solutions through Broadcom’s eStore again. All of the authorized resellers can be found here: https://www.broadcom.com/company/partners/ca-technologies/symantec-partner-locator

    Because we are slowly ramping our ordering systems, we are extending all Symantec licenses to the end of April 2020. The customers’ expiration date for renewals will remain the original expiration date outlined in the contract.

    To find resources and answers to frequently asked questions during our transition, customers can go here – https://symantec.broadcom.com/customer_information_qa

    We continue to be very committed to our customers and our partner community. Read this blog to learn more about Symantec & Broadcom synergies – https://symantec-blogs.broadcom.com/blogs/feature-stories/broadcom-symantec-enterprise-its-all-about-portfolio

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  5. Al says:

    It seems that this license fiasco is only one of the current Symantec/Broadcom issues.

    At the Noron LifeLock side of things, these problems occurred only since March:
    a. Current NSP subscribers have been forded-upgraded to N360 plan;
    b. Current legacy version customers have been force-upgraded to the latest client software (v22.x), causing system issues especially on older XP systems;
    c. With (b), the legacy customer has NO option to opt of of the forced upgrade, unless Live Update has been permanently disabled and Intelligent Update is manually run;
    d. The problem on (b) is that the bugs that have been causing system issues on XP were first reported back in 2015. Five years later, those bugs have still not been addressed.

    Reference thread links:
    https://community.norton.com/en/forums/please-stop-forced-update-22xx
    https://community.norton.com/en/forums/recent-forced-nis-update-xp-sp3-v217xx-v22xx
    https://community.norton.com/en/forums/forced-norton-product-n360-upgrade-causing-application-errors-xp
    https://community.norton.com/en/forums/norton-securityautomatically-uninstalled
    https://community.norton.com/en/forums/i-am-still-nis-user

    I’m not convinced all these are a mere coincidence as a result of the Broadcom thing — somehow they’re all related.

    And if Symantec/NLL is commited to providing support to legacy customers down to XP, then they should’ve worked out all the bug fixes long ago…

    I think it would be helpful if tech press/watcher like Guenter could look into these issues and report on them accordingly.

  6. Blackie Nuff says:

    I concur with Al’s post above.

    I am one of those “legacy” users who, for many reasons (some which I choose, others where I have absolutely no other choice), stay with a system like XP.

    I have been keeping my system running like the wind without a single problem of any kind, UNTIL Norton shoved the N360 security software program Version 22 (confusingly called Norton Security in some instances) down the throats of all of us who preferred to stay with the older Norton product version (21.7.0.11) having discovered that the last best version to “play nice” with Windows XP is N360 v21.7.0.11 – a version which we NOW cannot even effectively roll back to without being force-upgraded all over again via the Live Update (LU) process.

    I have no doubt this has been going on as early as 2015, though I first experienced the issue back in 2017, when I was having some buggy issues with my Norton product (once again, the fault of Norton not providing proper care and maintenance ; it was failing to successfully install certain updates/definitions, among other behavioral and performance problems), and I gave the v22 a try.

    The problems with v22 were immediate and obvious, and VERY stressful and annoying. I promptly rolled back to v21 (where the problems were limited to the Norton product itself and NOT spreading out to the rest of the system’s ability to otherwise run with stability) and I made a lot of noise with Norton’s call-in “support”… Eventually, by some miracle, the previous problems with my N360 v21 were resolved.

    I continued on quite content with both my system and my Norton (v21.7) product in the years following… until March 2 of this year… which brings us to now to the present day, where all the old problems are still present, clearly having been ignored all this time.

  7. Jackal says:

    Broadcom buys security companies to raise stock prices, but really it does’t have a long-term strategy.

    Tip: run away as soon as possible!

  8. Pingback: If there's something strange in Symantec's neighborhood, who you gonna call? Not Broadcom, it seems: Systems go down, cut off customers - The Register

  9. Digi421 says:

    This ‘migration’ was a complete and utter disaster. Customers have been unable to extend support (not only licenses) since December last year. Just imagine, there are huge corporations that extend hands full of money to Broadcom and say, ‘please let us give you money so you can provide support’ and Broadcom saying ‘no can do, go away’. What kind of business transition is this if business is not possible?
    Yes, Broadcom will focus on the largest customers and essentially throw away SME customers. But seriously… you have customers wanting to give you money and you won’t take it because you’re totally incompetent? “We only do things we’re good at” is one of the Broadcom mantras. Really? Then why did you purchase Symantec? Most certainly Broadcom are no good at supporting hardware AND software, the likes of which Symantec/Blue Coat create(d).
    The knowledge base is useless because you can’t effectively use the search, promises are made to resellers and not kept regarding quotes. People are leaving left, right and centre because the only thing Broadcom cares about is the bottom line – most certainly not customers. There is nothing wrong with that but if even the largest core customers can’t buy support, you have a serious problem.

  10. Martin Sitte says:

    Still the same disaster.
    Partner cannot renew customer licenses an have no proper access to broadcom services.
    Support is unresponsive, user account migration horrible and not working properly.
    Need to switch to competitors soon.

  11. John says:

    My VAR says it’s nearly impossible for him to get quotes back from Broadcom to renew SEP licenses, saying that for one customer, it took 3 months. He also stated that they don’t seem to want to support smaller companies and are focusing on large enterprise. We are ditching this dumpster fire entirely. He mentioned them EOL’ing SEP later this year, but i’m not sure if he was talking about cloud or on-prem (i’ve heard this about cloud, but not on-prem).

  12. Jan says:

    I also have simulair problems, when I want to download the software, and select the tile with Endpoint protection Small Business (Cloud) is says: No products found.

    When I look at the Entitlements it shows the right values.

    I you are trying support by Chat I get no response?
    A also made a ticket but the same, no response.

    Is there anyone who can donwload the software?

  13. DM says:

    Same situation for a lot of IT partners in the Netherlands. Symantec SEPC/SBE support and renewal and new activations are impossible. Virtually no support from distributors or Broadcom. We are have moved our 2500+ clients to a competitor after 20 years of Symantec. It’s a shame that this product which involves serious risks when not supported but also is installed on important production servers is ditched in such a way. My advice: do not sit and wait. Move away asap!

  14. John says:

    DM,
    May I ask what new protection software you chose?
    Thank you,

    John

    • guenni says:

      For my personal purpose I’m running Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) under Win 7 SP1 (ESU-License). On Win 10 Testmachines I use Defender. But I’m not representative for other users.

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