back to article Symantec swoops on Messagelabs

Symantec is to buy the British messaging security firm MessageLabs for $695m in cash. The company will merge MessageLabs with its own Symantec Protection Network for a more comprehensive software-as-a-service offering. This will incorporate Symantec technology in data loss prevention, compliance, endpoint security and …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Bad News

    What a shame.

    I've used ML for years and they've been brilliant. Great service, great response and excellent product.

    Now they're part of Symantec I'm waiting for the usual crap service, crap response and lack of security.

    A Sad day for IT.

  2. Thomas Duffin
    Thumb Down

    Oh Great

    Another good product about to go to the dogs due to being bought out by a company full of numpties.

    Anyone know of another company that does the same job as MessageLabs for when my contract with them runs out? (And not McAfee!)

  3. Steve
    Thumb Down

    Agree with above posters...

    Real shame. Implemented MessageLabs at three companies of various sizes - including using their sister ISP Star.

    Amazingly good service. Helpfuly and knowledgable staff (including helpdesk), superb reliability and does exactly what it says on the tin.

    Very sad news that a company like Symantec is going to destroy what used to be a fantastic security provider.

  4. Kevin Gurney

    Makes me sad

    That I've only just renewed our ML subscription for another year.

    Also had somebody on the phone yesterday pushing Googles "Google Message Security for Enterprise" service which sounds similar.

  5. Mart


    maybe i'm being pedantic but surely the following is untrue

    "Symantec is to buy the British messaging security firm MessageLabs for $695m in cash."

    What do they do roll up to a lloyds and make a small withdrawal???? and with Symantec being yanks thats a lot of commission on changing to GBP!

    Oh, and yes i think this sucks too.....

  6. Vernon Lloyd

    OH Poo

    Atm we have a damn good service with great spam blocking, with fantastic support.. Thank you Messagelabs.

    Odviously someone far away has pulled a giant Chain and MessageLabs as we know it is in a whirpool going towards the other Symantec crap.

    Our service levels are going to go the same way as last nights curry.......

    Of course I could be dreaming all of this....*pinch*OUCH.....maybe not then

    What would th BOFH do................

  7. Anonymous Coward

    Advice for Symantec

    IMO the best thing Symantec can do is to leave the MessageLabs team in situ and provide them with all the necessary info about the suites of products they already have under their control. MessageLabs are a great organisation with a service that is second-to-none and Symantec are a software company with a very broad range of security products, some of which could be cherry-picked and modified to operate within the MessageLabs service (AND NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND).

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Oh Great does this mean...

    Does this mean that messagelabs...

    • Will be installed as a free trial on all new PCs that we buy from now on,

    • Be incompatible in really subtle ways with just about any other product, service or system ever conceived or ever to be conceived,

    • Will stop all future development on the useful aspects of their products they presently offer and double their efforts in developing pointless add-ons that break things in fiendish ways and just make life for us admins a complete pig

    • Will rebrand everything in that gopping symantec day glo yellow that signifies the piss in piss poor service

    • Will be a complete arse to remove if we choose to discontinue service meaning that we have to format all our machine’s hard drives to get them to work correctly

    • Will drag the performance of our computers and their email and internet systems down to that of a broken 486SX regardless of the age of the hardware and software we are using

    • Will make all the really easy to use aspects of their service really confusing and rename all their products every year with names that have no relation to the products functions.

  9. Jolyon
    Paris Hilton

    Another happy ML user

    Soon to be cheesed off, I suspect.

    Remarkable unity of opinion on this issue.

    Paris because i am told she sucks as well.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Oh Great

    Postini perhaps? Although... they're part of the Googleplex now. Alternatively, take that back in-house with an email appliance from anyone but Symantec?

  11. Calum Morrison

    Oh cock.

    I've been a very happy MessageLabs customer for just under a year having escaped to them from a similar but truly woeful F-Prot service. The renewal invoice is sitting on my desk at the moment and is going to be very carefully considered. I've already been looking at Barracuda...

  12. Terry Scoop

    Dont agree with above.

    A lot of the ML services already utilise best of breed items, some from Symantec. From what I have heard, they are purchasing the MessageLabs culture not the company. We all have used Symantec and their support and products on a personal level and they arent great, but most of these items reflect the Norton name not Symantec as a company. I personally think that they have a lot to learn from companies like MessageLabs and giving MessageLabs the funding will allow MessageLabs to consistently develop the brand.

    Its not all as bad as it seems. Just hope that they keep the hard working dedicated staff and not switch to one of those yanky "have a nice day" scripted support centres.

    Who knows, we should at least give them a chance to prove the critics wrong?!

  13. Andrew Oakley
    Black Helicopters

    Symantec's letter to its own hosted email customers makes for an interesting read

  14. Hate2Register

    Yes well... another quality startup will be ruined...

    Symantec is a very big software company, as you write. You forgot to mention that it is also a very crap software company.

    We all remember the fantastic Norton Utilities and Norton Antivirus, that made our computers run better in the 80s and 90s. Since bought by Symantec, the product quality has come crashing downwards. It's a shame that software giants find it impossible to focus on what people actually want. And if Norton was not bundled with a trillion computers in stores, no-one would buy it at all.

    It's a damn shame.

  15. pAnoNymous
    IT Angle

    Wohooo! :(






    the list goes on and on.....

    Symantec sure love eating up companies, getting rid of the bits they don't like (conflicts with existing product/not profitable enough), slow development to a crawl and milk the cash cow till it's dry.

  16. Eddie Johnson
    Dead Vulture

    RIP MessageLabs

    Best wishes for a peaceful end with your other fallen brothers. Your death at the hand of your adoptive father was definitely regrettable, the only question is whether it was accidental.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Second the general opinion

    My company has been using ML for years, but I had no relationship with them until a year ago or so. Unlike the other global providers I've dealt with (all of them big multinational conglomerates) ML has always delivered its service with exceptional quality, always have been suggesting improvements even if they were not going to benefit their bottom line and have been generally very, very easy to work with.

    I feel bad for ML going the way of Norton... in three years, Symantec managed to turn the "Norton" brand from a respected product line into something that everybody was trying to avoid at all costs,

  18. Anonymous Coward

    Begging for a buyer...

    They've been begging for someone to buy them for years, so now we're all saved from some of the pointless PR we've seen pushed and even appear on El Reg. Less money than what they were asking, I believe. The analyst call mentions that *some* staff will be safe, but c'mon - all cash means they want the tech not the people.. Most of the stuff they added as new products was not their own - and some of those products are now owned by competitors and resold by them.

    I should add we were a relatively happy customer using IM and such like - however their first stab at web was an utter flop and still has teething problems. The assumption was that it was cobbled together just to keep up. IM didn't have an update for years and just lacks every function you'd want. It's nice having features, but they lag behind in many ways when it comes to anything but email.

    Jack of all trades, master of one.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Not good news at all

    I use both Symantec's security services and Message Labs. The former is a bunch of hopeless muppets who cause me levels of despair that cannot be matched by pretty much anyone. The latter have provided a constant and consistent service for all the years we have used them.

    Despite what anyone might say, its clear the appalling service ethos that is central to Symantec will filter down to Message Labs, probably in the form of stupid replacement management.

    Oh happy day

  20. Anonymous Coward

    I am surprised....

    with all of the comments above....

    MessageLabs Global Tech Support is based in New York not the UK and generally have a reasonably average record of support.

    Secondly the powers that be have been trying to sell the company for years - it was only a matter of time before they did. Don't get all bleary eyed and feel that this is a big shock, there was talk of this two years ago

  21. Nick Woodruffe

    a long time coming..

    Well that wasn't a surprise. I've been waiting for an announcement like that for 2 years now. We were with ML for a good few years but switched to Blackspider (now Websense Hosted Mail) 3 years back.

    At the time we switched, the ML product worked well but Blackspider had a better web management console for fine tuning your settings. When we switched, ML did not have a management console worth looking at. In all our meetings with ML, the only thing they could say was an improved management console was on it's way.

    Our personal opinion in 2005 was that ML were trying to sell out and cutting development costs whereas Blackspider and Postini were throwing money at their products.

    So we waited and waited for ML to improve. Each year we entertained Postini and ML to present their improved products and still we stayed with Blackspider.

    Finally ML produced a front end that could take on Blackspider and we saw it demoed in early 2008. Apart from email branding, you could do most of the adjustments that Postini and Blackspider can do. However they were the most expensive on price so Blackspider wins at the moment.

    It's not been so smooth with Blackspider. At the start it was direct phone calls to the engineer in Reading if you had a problem. That disapeared when SurfControl bought them out. Support has got slower since Websense has bought SurfControl but the online service has improved as SurfControl was not helping the product.

    We like Postini and it matches what Blackspider offers on features and price but we need to see Blackspider really mess up to force us to move again.

    I wonder if the ML staff will have to move to Green park in Reading. At least Green park doesn't flood unlike Gloucester. What will happen to Star? Do they still share a building with ML?

    Anyone have any opinion on Postini apart from "It's owned by Google"?

  22. Scott Mckenzie

    For those looking elsewhere...

    ...the level of tech support from Sophos has always impressed me greatly!

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What about Star

    @Nick Woodruffe

    Used to work at Star a few years ago. Star are mostly in a separate building to Messagelabs, with just a few things like overall Messagelabs Group functions being at the Messagelabs offices a couple of miles from Star's Gloucester Offices.

    I'm interested to find out how this will affect Star and the Messagelabs employees. The company was excellent to work for, and although lacking a Google style environment/benefits, it was a company that did what it could for their employees. I hope Symantec keep Messagelabs as is...

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