McAfee rejects Symantec claim about market share

BOSTON Thu Jan 26, 2012 4:33pm EST

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BOSTON (Reuters) - Security software maker McAfee rejected a claim that several large corporate customers had recently switched over to using products from rival Symantec Corp.

Symantec Chief Financial Officer James Beer told Reuters in an interview late on Wednesday that his company was taking share in the anti-virus software market away from McAfee, which was purchased by chipmaker Intel Corp in February.

Beer said that several large McAfee customers had switched to Symantec during the quarter, but declined to identify them.

McAfee Senior Vice President for Finance and Accounting Edward Hayden told Reuters on Thursday that the claim was false. He added that his company had booked a record amount of business in its December quarter, signed its biggest deal ever and closed more sales over $1 million than it had in any single period.

"We are not aware of any major account that we lost to Symantec during the quarter," he said.

Intel bought McAfee in a $7.7 billion deal meant to spur growth at the world's top chipmaker and also help it better protect its products from hackers. Investors are still waiting to see whether that bet will yield results.

McAfee laid off about 3 percent of its workers, or about 250 employees, in December.

Hayden said that the company is now adding staff in priority areas including mobile technology, cloud computing and network security.

He said he expects the staff to return to its pre-layoff level of about 7,000 by the end of the first quarter.

(Reporting By Jim Finkle; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)

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