Robert McLaws: Windows Edition

Blogging about Windows since before Vista became a bad word

Symantec Spreading Vista FUD To Manipulate Stock Price

I was looking over the trackbacks for my post on Symantec earlier today, when I came upon this entry at Barrons.com's TechTraderDaily blog. Eric Savitz reports that Merril Lynch has downgraded their rating of the stock to Neutral ahead of an earnings report tomorrow, which sent the stock price tumbling (my previous entry was linked in the comments, but has since been removed). Analyst Edward Maguire gave five reasons for the change (pay attention to the last one, emphasis mine):

  • Macro outlook for IT security spending appears to have deteriorated as lingering challenges from enterprise sales reorganization could slow efforts to capture market share.
  • Contribution from newer product area (endpoint security, vulnerability management, anti-spyware) [are] unlikely to offset slowing growth from maturing anti-virus and perimeter security products.
  • Consumer [sector] likely to continue to face competitive pressures, with increased competition significantly reducing opportunity for further price increases and contribution from new products not expected until 2007.
  • Combined products from the merger [with Veritas] not likely to come to market until 2007.
  • Microsoft’s entry into consumer and enterprise security, as well as potential security improvements from the delayed Vista OS, will overhand investor sentiment at the very least pending greater clarity into market impact.
  • Based on this report today, Symantec shares were down 1% on the day in regular trading, and lost another 1.23% in after-hours trading. This stock has been declining for the past year, and will only continue to do so. And, it looks like I was right: Symantec *IS* trying to use old and already-corrected Vista flaws to bolster investor confidence in its product lines ahead of disappointing earnings.

    Is it a coincidence that these papers came out a week before their earnings report? Not likely...

    In related news, Dave Goldsmith from Matasano has an interesting counterpoint on the Symantec papers. He thinks they validate Microsoft's Trustworthy Computing initiative. He even throws down some charts to prove it. He would know a bit about Symantec, he ran their Security Academy, and was also the co-founder of @stake.

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    • Symantec has definitely been the target of my wrath as of late, and the time has now come to address
      August 26, 2006 12:47 PM