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Symantec Spins Off Internet Tools Unit

Symantec Corp. Thursday announced plans to spin off its Internet tools unit into a new company which will focus on e-commerce solutions, Web-enabling business systems and legacy applications.

The split will allow the new company to focus primarily on providing Java-based solutions for enterprise developers, while enabling Symantec to focus more on building security and connectivity solutions, according to John Thompson, Symantec's president and chief executive officer.

The spin-off will also continue development and support of the VisualCafe line of products.

"Creating an independent company will put the spotlight on our expertise and capability as an Internet company," Thompson said. "The new company will be able to focus more clearly on the needs of customers in this arena, compete more effectively and move faster to take advantage of opportunities as they arise."

The new company intends to extend its presence in the enterprise market by integrating existing corporate business systems and Web applications, said Mansour Safai, vice president of the Internet tools business unit.

The new Symantec Internet solutions company is expected to form within the next three to nine months. Initially, Symantec will control all the new unit, but the company plans to eventually add other investors.

According to PC Data, the business unit has expanded its share of the Java solutions market from 33 percent to 56 percent in the past year, ahead of companies such as Microsoft, IBM, Inprise, and Sun.

According to Forrester Research, the market for sell-side e-commerce software is predicted to grow to $1.4 billion by 2002.