ARN

Symantec pans for novice PC buyers

The rivers of gold flowing from the market servicing novice PC buyers has enticed another vendor to start prospecting: Symantec is joining the rush. Traditionally known for its networking software and Norton Utilities, Symantec is trying to reposition itself so that it also caters for the booming home market.

Over the past couple of weeks Symantec has released three products aimed at achieving this: PC Fastfind, PC Handyman and Internet FastFind. However, Symantec has a challenge. Not only does it have to reposition its brand name to give it more broad-based consumer appeal, it also has to convince this market that it needs to invest in utilities.

John Laing, Symantec's visiting executive vice-president, desktop products, is fully aware of the scope of the challenge. However, he is confident the company can pull it off. "We've been trying to educate these people that they need to maintain and protect their data, and they need to protect themselves from viruses," he said.

Noticeably absent from the new line-up of products is the Norton brand name, which research showed was too closely associated with the very technical product, Norton Utilities. Similarly, the utilities tag never appears on any of the packaging.

Laing said he once asked a woman pushing a pram in a shopping centre, who was perusing Symantec software, if there was anything he could tell her about utilities. "She said, 'No thanks, we pay them every month'."

To further attract the lower end of the market, Symantec has cut the price of many of its products by around 25 per cent, Laing said.