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Symantec streamlines software lines

Symantec will focus on developing new integrated products

Security software provider Symantec is reworking its sales strategy, reorganizing software lines, slimming middle management and increasing marketing and research efforts.

Symantec will make these changes over the next 6 to 24 months, the company announced on Wednesday.

With this reorganization, Symantec's software will fall into one of three categories: home and office security, business compliance and continuity of operations. Products will be integrated so customers can choose additional functionality should they need it.

"Customers will still be able to pick and choose the solutions they want to use, but from a broader menu of innovative products with higher value," said Steve Bennett, Symantec president and chief executive officer, in a statement. "We're not offering packages that they have to take it or leave it. Customers can still decide what's right for them and buy accordingly, but have the added option of migrating to new integrated offerings."

The company also plans to increase research and development into areas such as mobile workforce productivity, data center security, integrated backup, information security services, cloud-based information management, and identity and content-aware security.

Symantec will continue to rely on the sales channels to manage current customers, while devoting the internal sales to generating new business. The company also plans to add more resources to its marketing efforts.

The company has also created a new Office of the CEO, which will be comprised of a small decision-making team consisting of a chief financial officer, president of products and services, and chief operating officer. The company plans to trim middle management positions, while granting more decision making authority to front-line employees.

During the transition, the company expects to increase revenue growth by more than 5 percent per year.

Symantec announced the new sales strategy during its earnings announcement for its third quarter of fiscal 2013. For this quarter, the company posted revenue of US$1.79 billion -- an increase of 4 percent from the same quarter last year -- though its net income slipped by 12 percent year-on-year to $212 million from $240 million for the same time a year ago.

Symantec also announced that it will repurchase $1 billion in company shares and that it will return approximately 50 percent of its free cash flow to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

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