June 11, 2009

HP Computers To Come With Symantec Online Backup

Symantec Corp is looking to expand its consumer business beyond its line of Norton security products. Helped along by the world's biggest PC maker, Hewlett-Packard, the company plans to sell its online backup services on all of HP's new computers, Reuters reported.

HP will now ship all the personal computers it sells to consumers with preloaded Symantec software that offers subscription to an Internet-based PC backup service, Symantec said on Thursday.

Consumers will be offered a one-month free trial for Norton Online Backup, followed by an annual subscription for $50.

In the company's effort to boost sales, the backup service is one of several "cloud computing" products that Symantec has introduced over the past year.

Cloud computing, which refers to the use of the Web to access services from remote data centers, is expected to be among the fastest growing areas in technology in the coming years, according to analysts in the field.

During its most recent fiscal year, Symantec's consumer unit revenue grew just 3 percent to $1.7 billion, down from its 10 percent growth a year earlier.

Some suggest it may take several years for the backup product to substantially increase sales.

Total sales of all Web-based backup products are estimated to rise 23 percent this year to $370 million, according to technology research firm Gartner.

EMC Corp's Mozy division and the privately held Carbonite are among Symantec's largest competitors.

The company also offers cloud-based services for repairing PCs and letting parents monitor use of family computers.

HP and Symantec already have a PC distribution agreement, through which it sells Norton Internet Security, a suite of programs to fight hackers and other threats.

Since consumers enjoy the convenience of purchasing programs right from their PC desktop, software makers covet such deals, and many of the world's top PC makers have similar relationships with various software companies.

It is still unclear when exactly HP and Symantec's security software agreement will expire, but McAfee Inc has stated its interest in winning the contract away from Symantec.

However, Symantec intends to renegotiate a new contract when the current pact expires, according to consumer division president Janice Chaffin.


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