Symantec was founded by Gary Hendrix with a grant from the National Science Foundation in 1982. The company originally focused on artificial intelligence.
Two years later in 1984 it became clear that the product the company was developing would not work. This left Symantec with expertise but no viable product. At this juncture the company was bought by C&E Software. The new company retained the name Symantec.
Symantec developed Q&A, a database and word processing software program for IBM-compatible computers that is cited as a significant step toward making computers less intimidating and more user friendly.
Revenues from Q&A allowed the company to grow and expand. In 1993 Symantec acquired ACT!, in 2004 Veritas, and in 2010 Verisign’s authentication business unit, among others.
Today Symantec provides security, storage, and systems management software for businesses and consumers. The company’s applications include such functions as virus control, data backup, PC maintenance, intrusion detection, content filtering, and remote server management.
Symantec’s products include the Norton family of security software, including Norton Antivirus, McAfee, Panda Security, BitDefender, Sophos, and Trend Micro, among others.
Symantec has 21,500 employees and had $6.73 billion in revenue in 2012.