The security software industry costs around $100 billion, so there is certainly room for a few big companies and some great stories.
The largest security software company – Symantec, the company behind Norton Internet Security and antivirus products, costs $ 16 billion and has annual sales of over $6 billion. Symantec had a modest beginning, founded in 1982 by Gary Hendricks with a grant from the National Science Foundation. In 1984, it was acquired by another software development company, C&E Software, and began a long series of acquisitions for small businesses at the time. C&E Software took the name Symantec and operated until November 1985, when it released its first major product, Question and Answer. In July 1989, Symantec was released to the public after the success of the Q&E product.
After hundreds of millions of dollars in acquisitions and massive growth, Symantec made its largest acquisition to date in 2000, when it acquired AXENT Technologies in a transaction worth nearly $1 billion. In 2016, it acquired AXENT Technologies. Symantec will contribute Veritas software (which it acquired for over $13.5 billion in 2005).
The biggest story in antivirus is the resounding success of Qihoo 360 security, a manufacturer of ultra-popular mobile 360 security applications for iOS and Android. For a brand that is so unrecognizable in the West, you should not expect its net cost to approach the announced 10 billion dollars. This value becomes clear when you consider that their active user base is over 100 million users a day. When they launched their application in India, it was downloaded over 10 million times in just 3 weeks! The application is absolutely free, monetization is through advertising. By the end of 2014, the company had over 1 billion users on desktops and mobile phones.
The largest company engaged in anti-virus software is undoubtedly Microsoft, which owns 20% of the security software market. This large market share is mainly due to the huge ‘Microsoft Security Essentials’ product, which can be downloaded for free if you are using the Windows operating system. Microsoft Security Essentials is the most popular antivirus product in North America and the second most popular in the world. When the product was launched, it was quickly rejected by other antivirus brands such as McAfee and Kaspersky, who claimed the product was inferior to them and occupied only 2% of the market.
Who is today the fastest growing antivirus company? It would be Bitdefender. Thanks to the production of quality products and aggressive marketing, Bitdefender was able to slowly bring its business to the consumer base of more than half a billion people and is on its way to becoming the first Romanian company to become public. The company is relatively new compared to other big names in the space (McAfee, for example, has existed almost twice as long), so it is very impressive that they have managed to achieve their share in such a crowded market.