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At least one channel partner agrees with Enterprise Strategy Group's Oltsik and doesn't think selling Altiris would have much of an impact on the channel. Developing Altiris into a complete unified console was an ambitious idea but too hard to do, said Andrew Plato, president and CEO of Anitian Enterprise Security, a Beaverton, Ore.-based security consultancy. Plato called Altiris a dog and said Microsoft System Center is seen as a lower-cost alternative.
"Symantec has done almost nothing to improve it," he said. "It's expensive, complex and largely ignored. Like a lot of Symantec's big plans, it never came to fruition."
Other channel partners are looking for validation that mobile security and more specifically, mobile device management would remain part of the Symantec portfolio, even if Altiris is sold off.
Symantec has made significant investment in mobile security, said Oltsik. It acquired mobile device management vendor Odyssey Software, which is tightly integrated with Microsoft, and later it added mobile application management firm Nukona, Inc. to its product set in March, integrating both firms into its Endpoint and Mobility Group.
Brian Okun, regional director of sales at Prevalent Networks, Warren, N.J., said unloading Altiris comes as a complete shock. The company is one of Symantec's top partners, certified across Symantec's entire portfolio.
"Certainly [Symantec's] Steve Bennett is looking to deliver shareholder value with a move like that," Okun said. "I'd hope there is some outreach to the Symantec channel for a validation or [rejection of] this rumor."
Toby Zellers, vice president of strategy and solutions at McLean, Va.-based TVAR Solutions, said his clients, who do business with the government, are looking for the platform to gain FIPS compliance, a federal standard for encryption.
"The feds are trying to figure out mobile device management and bring-your-own-device issues," he said. "I thought the Altiris piece was a large part of their mobile device management strategy, so I would want to better understand their strategy moving forward if Altiris was no longer part of the portfolio."