We don't know what it is with the sudden interest in acquiring security firms, but perhaps the AV industry is destined to follow the same consolidation and takeover path that the boutique PC business underwent not that long ago.
Let's recap. Intel in August purchased McAfee for $7.68 billion, a deal that stockholders from both sides were stoked about. And just a short while ago we reported that Trend Micro is at least listening to buyout offers , even if no one can afford the company. Now there's rumors that Symantec may be on the takeover table as well.
It all started when Jeffries & Co. analyst Katherine Egbert wrote in a report that Symantec could be worth $19-$20 a share to a buyer, though she added that a deal for the company isn't likely to happen. From there things start to get a little fuzzy, and now the rumor mill is somehow swirling with speculation that Microsoft might be interested in buying out Symantec. Several stock rumor sites are discussing the possibility, and that in turn has caused Symantec's stock to surge 6 percent.
Like Egbert, we view this as unlikely, though Microsoft certainly has the capital to pull something like this off. It's also worth pointing out the major shift into the mobile market thanks to the smartphone boom and emerging tablet craze, two areas that might benefit from specialized AV software.