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Symantec's CEO Sees Threats & Opportunities

Boot Camp feature for Thursday, June 27, 2002

The threat from computer viruses is worse than ever. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. If you aren't running anti-virus software and keeping it up to date, chances are you've already been hit with Klez or one of the other viruses. It's not that he wishes that kind of misfortune on you, but at Symantec, CEO John Thompson sees the increasing threats are an opportunity for growth. The penetration rate of anti-virus and firewall software is still relatively small...

"Well I think the penetration rate is certainly highest amongst what we call the early adaptors or the power users in the consumer space. I think as more and more consumers move to a broadband environment, there's an enormous opportunity for those who already have anti-virus to pick up a firewall. For those who already have an AV or firewall product, to install cookie blockers and banner blockers and intrusion sensors. And as that broadband opportunity continues to accelerate, we think the chance for selling more consumer technology to the consumer is really a big one."

There is intense competition already among companies that make anti-virus and firewall software... .and Thompson believes it may grow. Microsoft, he says, is a likely competitor...

"They already have a firewall that competes with us, they have authentication technologies that compete with other people in the sector. So it's clear with the appointment of a senior officer to take a look at and build security technologies they're going to do something."

But Thompson says Symantec isn't worried. For now at least, he sees enough opportunity to go around. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.