Today: Symantec announces a new approach to its core security business, declares antivirus "is dead." Also: Apple closes higher than $600 for the first time since 2012 after Samsung verdict.
The Lead: Symantec challenges younger rivals, ditches antivirus
As Silicon Valley security upstarts find strong sales growth, antivirus pioneer Symantec announced Monday that it will ditch its focus on antivirus products for an approach that mimics its younger rivals.
Symantec announced new offerings that promise to detect threats and immediately fight them as opposed to its current software offering, which mostly attempts to block incursions but is not as useful once a bad actor has managed to sneak through the defense.
"To successfully defend against the types of targeted attacks we're seeing today, you need to expand the focus from prevention to detection and response," Symantec executive Brian Dye said in Monday's news release.
Dye was more blunt in an interview with The Wall Street Journal, saying antivirus protection, the core of Symantec's offering for years, "is dead,"
"We don't think of antivirus as a moneymaker in any way," Dye told the Journal.
Symantec's financial performance of late gives credence to that view: The security software company saw its sales drop 0.6 percent in 2013 while profits plummeted 23.5 percent. Turmoil has reigned at its Mountain View headquarters, with the ouster of CEO Steve Bennett just two years after his hire leaving a previously announced turnaround plan seemingly in limbo.
Symantec's first offering to roll out will be a network security offering that attempts to detect and prevent network incursions. In a nod to the advances competitors have made in the space, Symantec's network offering incorporates partnerships with rivals that have found success in the sphere: Check Point, Palo Alto Networks and Sourcefire, which Cisco acquired for $2.7 billion last year.
Later this year, Symantec will roll out a service that allows internal security teams to react to the threats that are detected and access to advanced intelligence, with the full service bundled together and available within a year, the company said.
"It continues to be a massive uphill battle for Symantec in terms of really becoming a next-gen player on the network side," FBR Capital Markets analyst Daniel Ives said in a phone interview Monday; Ives has a "Market Perform" rating on Symantec, similar to a "Hold," with a $22 price target.
Ives believes Symantec should have acted on this type of strategy years ago, before new players such as FireEye managed to win fans in the enterprise space.
"They continue to be late to the game, and this doesn't really move the needle," Ives said, comparing the move to "an Italian restaurant that all of a sudden starts to serve bread."
FireEye, the Milpitas security company that went public last year and has already exercised a $1 billion acquisition and a $1 billion secondary offering, "continues to be miles ahead of the competitors here," Ives said, later calling the company "the LeBron James" of endpoint-security offerings.
Symantec dropped 1.3 percent to $20.10 Monday, and has now declined 14.8 percent so far in 2014. Meanwhile, Palo Alto Networks jumped 3 percent to $67.02 and FireEye gained 0.7 percent to $40.23.
SV150 market report: Wall Street gains as Apple tops $600
Wall Street indexes improved slightly Monday while Silicon Valley stocks rose faster thanks to a post-Samsung-verdict boost from Apple.
Apple gained 1.4 percent to $600.96, the first time the Cupertino tech giant's share price has closed higher than $600 since October 2012. The positive move comes after jurors in the company's San Jose legal patent battle with Korean rival Samsung reached a verdict late Friday afternoon that awarded Apple about $120 million after Apple sought more than $2 billion. Unlike the jury in the first trial between the two massive tech giants, a jury foreman said Monday, "It wasn't a decision based on trying to send a message to one company or another." While its legal team works on patent litigation, Apple has built up an impressive team of medical-technology experts that will likely look to use their knowledge to develop wearable sensors for future Apple products, Reuters reported Monday.
Advanced Micro Devices announced Monday a new architecture option for its server chips, which the Sunnyvale company hopes will allow it to build share in a market dominated by Intel; AMD dropped 0.7 percent to $4.09 on the day, while Intel fell 0.1 percent to $26.17.Twitter signed a deal with Amazon on the last day before hundreds of millions of locked-up Twitter shares become available for sale, allowing users of the San Francisco social-networking service to add products to their shopping carts with a tweet; Twitter fell 0.7 percent to $38.75, while Amazon gained 0.7 percent to $310.05.
Twitter rival Facebook moved 1.3 percent higher to $61.22 after naming Chris Cox its new head of product, and fellow social-networking company LinkedIn jumped 2.2 percent to $150.91 after last week's post-earnings tumble. Pandora Media gained 1.7 percent to $24.73 while pushing a new "Promoted Stations" advertising initiative, and Netflix added 1.1 percent to $344.38 while renewing the original program "Orange is the New Black" for a third season. Gilead Sciences gained 2.7 percent to $79.83 as its hot-selling hepatitis C drug, Sovaldi, was said by Germany to have unclear effects on liver cancer.
Up: Palo Alto Networks, Gilead, Tesla Motors, Salesforce, SolarCity, LinkedIn, Pandora, SanDisk, Apple, Facebook, Netflix, Nvidia, Oracle, Electronic Arts, NetApp, SunPower, Yelp, Workday
Down: Ruckus Wireless, Symantec, AMD, Twitter, VMware, Zynga, Splunk, Adobe, Intel, eBay
The SV150 index of Silicon Valley's largest tech companies: Up 10.52, or 0.75 percent, to 1,405.3
The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index: Up 14.16, or 0.34 percent, to 4,138.06
The blue chip Dow Jones industrial average: Up 17.66, or 0.11 percent, to 16,530.55
And the widely watched Standard & Poor's 500 index: Up 3.52, or 0.19 percent, to 1,884.66
Check in weekday afternoons for the 60-Second Business Break, a summary of news from Mercury News staff writers, The Associated Press, Bloomberg News and other wire services. Contact Jeremy C. Owens at 408-920-5876; follow him at Twitter.com/jowens510.