First, let's look at what Symantec has bought. Founded in 1998, Altiris builds software for endpoint management among a company's sprawl of desktops, laptops, mobile devices, and servers. Its key functions include tracking and monitoring information technology (IT) assets, as well as diagnosing problems and vulnerabilities. It works on various platforms, including those from Microsoft
Of course, this is good news for Altiris. For example, in the fiscal third quarter, the company posted a 15% increase in revenues to $48.8 million. Despite competition from big players such as IBM
Altiris offers Symantec several synergistic opportunities. Altiris's comprehensive assessment of IT resources, not to mention seamless upgrades, makes it even easier for Symantec to secure an IT environment. Symantec's security software, meanwhile, can "disinfect" problems along a network's various endpoints while enforcing compliance rules.
Symantec has missed its own sales forecasts for the past two quarters, and the current guidance is weak. In fact, things have been lackluster for the past couple of years. A big part of the problem seems to have come from another of its past deals -- its purchase of Veritas.
In the meantime, the company is facing even tougher competition in the security space, as companies such as IBM and EMC
Even though Altiris offers a lot of benefits, it would seem to make more sense for Symantec to focus on solving its current problems. Instead, management will now have new complexities to deal with, as well as many more risks.
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Fool contributor Tom Taulli does not own shares mentioned in this article. He is currently ranked 1,623 out of more than 21,000 players in Motley Fool CAPS, the Fool's investor-intelligence community. Come and join the party at CAPS -- it won't cost you a penny.