Both Sourcefire and ClamAV use an open-source software model, posting the source code to their projects on the Internet, and enlisting the contributions of thousands of volunteer programmers. While that seems dicey, it has resulted in some top-notch programs, including the various flavors of the Linux operating system, and it doesn't require the huge overhead costs of traditional software companies.
Sourcefire controls Snort, an open-source intrusion security system that counts more than 100,000 registered users. While Snort itself is free, the company has found a way to develop proprietary products based on Snort, which it sells using the traditional enterprise license model. Sourcefire expects to generate $55 million-$58 million in revenue for the year.
ClamAV, which develops software to defend computers against viruses and other malicious programs, also has a thriving global community, with about 1 million daily downloads for updates. Based on various surveys, its software stacks up well against traditional offerings from rivals such as Symantec
Sourcefire did not disclose the price tag on the deal. Then again, ClamAV has only five employees and consists mostly of intellectual property. Sourcefire estimates a fiscal Q3 write-off of $0.09-$0.12 per share, because of in-process R&D.
To crank out cash from the deal, Sourcefire plans to offer premium training and support services for ClamAV, in addition to developing new commercial products.
Sourcefire undoubtedly knows how to pull off a deal like this, but it'll need at least a year to get new products on the market. In the meantime, the company must still compete with fierce rivals like IBM
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