Symantec to Discontinue a Struggling Data-Storage Service

Symantec Corp., the biggest security-software maker, is discontinuing a struggling data-backup service as Chief Executive Officer Steve Bennett works to distance the company from the personal-computer market.

Symantec began alerting customers this month that it will stop selling its Backup service in January, according to a notice obtained by Bloomberg News. The decision was prompted by changes in the PC market, the company said yesterday in an accompanying document. The shutdown doesn’t affect Symantec’s other data-storage products.

“The PC backup world is changing,” the company said in the document. “Customers want features such as synch and share and mobile access. Backup was not designed with these features in mind. As a result, Symantec has decided to discontinue Backup in order to focus on more productive and feature rich cloud-based applications which include this type of functionality.”

Bennett, who was appointed CEO in July 2012 after the ouster of Enrique Salem, has cut jobs and restructured Symantec’s sales organization as part of a multiyear turnaround plan. The faltering PC market, which IDC said last month experienced a worldwide shipment decline of 7.6 percent in the third quarter, has curbed a major distribution channel for Symantec’s security products.

On a conference call in October, Bennett said the company was “still digging our way out of the self-inflicted wounds we had from Backup Exec,” which contributed to a 6 percent revenue decline in the Information Management segment that includes the products. The company doesn’t make more detailed financial information available about Backup Exec.

Hybrid Service

On a company Web page devoted to the Backup product, Symantec describes it as a hybrid service targeted at small and medium-sized businesses that want the flexibility to back up data from their PCs and servers.

Some of Symantec’s most visible corporate officers have left the company in recent months. Earlier this month the company said Francis deSouza, president of products and services, was leaving. Symantec also said in September that James Beer, who had been chief financial officer since 2006, was departing to become CFO of McKesson Corp.

Last month, Symantec shares dropped the most in four years after the company gave forecasts for profit and revenue that fell short of analyst estimates. Bennett said that sales staff, who are being assigned fewer clients and getting additional training as part of his makeover, weren’t able to close as many deals.