Symantec buys instant message security vendor

Symantec has announced plans to acquire instant messaging security vendor IMlogic.

Symantec's buying spree is showing no signs of slacking in 2006. The software vendor announced plans on Tuesday to purchase IMlogic, a provider of enterprise software for instant messaging clients.

Founded in 2001 by former Microsoft executive Francis deSouza and based in Waltham, Massachusetts, IMlogic sells software to help corporations secure and manage their instant messaging traffic. Financial details of the acquisition, which is expected to be completed in early February, were not disclosed.

Over the next year, Symantec plans to integrate IMlogic's security and content inspection capabilities with its antispam and antivirus software, as well as its security appliances, according to Enrique Salem, senior vice president for security products with Symantec. "Expect us to be integrating these technologies into the existing e-mail security portfolio," he said.

The company will also add instant messaging storage and management capabilities to its Enterprise Vault archiving software, which Symantec acquired as part of its 2005 purchase of Veritas Software.

Symantec and IMlogic have collaborated on security research in the past, and Enterprise Vault has been integrated with the IMlogic IM Manager software since 2002. At that time, Enterprise Vault was developed by Veritas Software, which was purchased by Symantec last year.

The acquisition makes a lot of sense for Symantec, according to Peter Firstbrook, a research director with Gartner. "It's a really good fit, and there's virtually no overlap with any of Symantec's existing [products]," he said.

With US$30 million in sales annually, the instant messaging security market is relatively small right now but is growing at about 100 percent per year, fast enough to have caught the attention of larger security software vendors such as McAfee and Trend Micro, according to Firstbrook. He believes other instant messaging security vendors, such as FaceTime Communications and Akonix Systems, are now prime targets for acquisition as e-mail and instant messaging products become intertwined.

IMlogic has about 90 employees. Symantec's Salem could not say whether layoffs were expected following the acquisition.

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