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Huawei-Symantec JV Rumored

China's Huawei may want back into the US storage market

Symantec is calling Chinese media reports of a Symantec-Huawei joint venture "rumor and speculation."

"It's all just rumor and speculation, which we don't comment on," said Symantec spokesperson Genevieve Haldeman. "Apparently, [Chinese media outlets] are writing a lot of stuff without checking with either company."

A Huawei spokesperson had not responded to requests for comment at press time.

Today's Beijing-based China Daily reports that Huawei, whose joint merger with 3Com just ended with 3Com's buyout of Huwaei's stake for $882 million, is close to finalizing a joint-venture arrangement with Symantec. (See On 3Com's Storage Trail.)

Presumably, the deal would mirror the one that created Huawei-3Com (H3C) before its reabsorption by 3Com. That deal produced a range of products, including a series of enterprise iSCSI systems called Neocean that are sold in China. 3Com says there are no plans to resell them in the U.S.

Still, at least one source says Huawei continues to move ahead with plans for a NAS/iSCSI product, based on ongoing iSCSI work with FalconStor, Intransa, iVivity, and Xyratex. (See FalconStor Focuses on China.)

The Chinese sources say Huawei is now looking to return to the lucrative U.S. data storage and security market via the Symantec partnership. Huawei reportedly thinks Symantec will leverage its storage offerings against technology rivals EMC, HP, and IBM.

At least one analyst sees potential in this type of partnership for Symantec. "Symantec partnering with Huawei certainly could not hurt its chances of increasing its presence, footprint, and partnerships in the growing China market," writes Greg Schulz of the StorageIO Group consultancy in an email today. "If this is the case, the question comes down to what technology will be involved and ultimately who is the real benefactor -- Symantec, Huawei, or others."

The China Daily report states that Huawei is looking to reclaim a place in the enterprise sector (as opposed to telecom), and that Symantec is "betting the joint venture will help give its security and data management group a needed boost."

Symantec, whose acquisition of Veritas didn't pan out as hoped, has been forging ahead with a slew of enhancements and new products in the storage software space, including a refreshed Backup Exec and a software as a service (SAAS) platform for SMBs. (See The Ides of March, Symantec Intros SAAS Platform, and SNW: First Take.)

Huawei has just opened a 250,000-square meter R&D center in China's Zhejiang Province. The vendor reportedly plans to devote the space to voice-over-IP product production as well as "network security" wares.

Apparently, the sources of the rumor don't have any info on the value of the deal they claim could be done as early as May. But if the rumors prove true, Symantec could certainly head in an interesting new direction.

— Mary Jander, Site Editor, Byte and Switch

  • EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC)
  • FalconStor Software Inc. (Nasdaq: FALC)
  • Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd.
  • IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM)
  • Intransa Inc.
  • iVivity Inc.
  • Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC)
  • 3Com Corp. (Nasdaq: COMS)
  • Xyratex Ltd. (Nasdaq: XRTX)
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