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Symantec kills GoEverywhere service

Doubts cast over Incubator project

Symantec's GoEverywhere online data-sharing service is going nowhere, it turns out.

The company has started notifying users that it is terminating the product, which it has been beta testing since January.

GoEverywhere was an experimental 'Webtop' service designed to give users a single point of access to their different web-based applications. Users could sync up different files from services such as Zoho and Google Docs, save passwords, and manage different web programs all from a single website.

The project was one of the first to emerge from Symantec's new in-house technology development group, known as Incubator, but it didn't last long after the company switched CEOs in April. Neither did the head of Incubator, Art Wong, who had been with the company since its 2002 acquisition of SecurityFocus. Wong left the company last Friday, Symantec said.

A company representative could not give a reason for Wong's departure. He could not be reached for comment on this story.

Although Wong's departure raises questions about the future of Incubator, Symantec president and CEO Enrique Salem said on Thursday that he had not shuttered the effort, but merely reined in some of the Incubator products launched before he took over. "What you do with an incubator is you place some bets and you do a review and you say, 'What do you think the long-term bets are going to be?'" he said. "We tried four or five things, we picked two to go forward with, and we'll fund some other new things to put in the incubator."

Symantec senior vice president of strategy Ken Berryman is now in charge of Incubator.

According to a source familiar with the situation, Incubator, which was supposed to operate like an internal startup company generator, is now a shadow of its former self. "The original concept is dead," said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Symantec's Online Protection Network was built through the incubator group and another undisclosed project relating to health care is still going forward, Salem said. With Online Protection Network now spun into a business unit, the health project, called Electronic Health Group, is the only remaining Incubator project.

Under Salem's predecessor, John Thompson, Symantec moved into a wide range of new businesses, capped by its $13.5 billion acquisition of storage vendor Veritas in 2005.

But under his watch, the focus is on building market share in Symantec's core businesses, Salem said. That means fewer acquisitions and a greater focus on internal development. "I've got to integrate all these great things we bought over the last 10 years," he said.

"We bought 30 companies," Salem noted. "We've got enough breadth. Now we need more depth and better integration so we can cross-sell more."


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