Layoffs Loom at Troubled Symantec

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The painful realignment continues at underperforming Symantec with reports this week of a significant round of layoffs that could see as many as 1,700 Big Yellow employees seeing red over pink slips.

The painful realignment continues at underperforming Symantec Corp. with reports this week of a significant round of layoffs that could see as many as 1,700 Big Yellow employees seeing red over pink slips.

According to All Things D, quoting sources familiar with the cost-cutting plan, the layoffs will be the largest in what has been an ongoing cull of the security vendor’s workforce that began several months ago. The cuts will be made in two phases, with about 1,000 layoffs expected this month and the remaining 700 coming sometime in July.

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In a statement to All Things D, Symantec representative Ellen Hayes the vendor is in the midst of a company-wide transformation.

“As part of this effort, we are engaged in a company-wide reorganization,” Hayes told the publication. As a result, some positions are being eliminated. This action is a reflection of our new strategy and organizational simplification initiative announced by Symantec’s executives on Jan. 23, 2013.”

Many of the cuts to the company’s 21,000-strong workforce are expected to come from Symantec’s middle-management ranks, an area senior executives have said repeatedly is bloated and inefficient.

The move is a part of Symantec’s massive overhaul, detailed by company officials in January’s product and channel strategy roadmap. The changes are seen internally as vital to turning around the vendor, suffering from stagnation, increased competition, product deficits, questionable mergers and acquisitions, and an unclear go-to-market strategy.

The sweeping overhaul of the Mountain View, Calif., company’s portfolio by honing, consolidating and culling product categories has been dubbed Symantec 4.0 by company officials looking to kick start innovation and growth. The rejuvenated product push will result in 10 key categories: mobile workforce productivity, Norton protection, Norton cloud, information security services, identity/content-aware security gateway, data center security, business continuity, integrated backup, cloud-based information management, and object storage platform.

All of the new product categories fall under one of three tenets: keeping customers’ data protected online at home and at work; keeping businesses safe and compliant; and keeping businesses up and running.

While this blueprint fills in holes in Symantec’s strategy, questions remain about its ambitions that include its network security focus, cloud and virtualization prowess, security and threat intelligence endeavors, and its ability to adequately serve the SMB. The real test for Symantec will be in how well Symantec 4.0 stacks up against the competition in practical, real-world applications.

Addressing 2,000 partners, developers, customers and employees at the Symantec Vision Conference 2013 in Las Vegas in April, CEO Steve Bennett compared gthe company’s turnaround efforts to “driving in the fog.”

“If you stand still waiting for fog to lift, you could wait all day,” Bennnet said. “If you drive too fast, you may veer of the road and hit a tree. What we’re doing is driving ahead slowly and consistently. The fog lifts, sunlight comes through. And we continue to make progress every day.”

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