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As Broadcom is busy selling VMware End-User Compute (EUC) for $3.8 billion, Carbon Black is being retained. However, a major round of layoffs is said to follow in March, after which the former security company may be merged with Symantec.

Broadcom initially planned to sell Carbon Black (CB). On Nov. 22, VMware was split into four Broadcom divisions, with EUC and CB conspicuous by their absence. That seemed a not-too-surprising choice: after all, CB was never fully consumed by VMware after it was acquired in 2019. VMware partners rarely offered these security offerings (seen as “tag-on” solutions), leading to very little overlap between VMware and CB customers after a potential sale. Also, Broadcom itself owns Symantec, whose security offerings overlap significantly with Carbon Black’s.

Carbon Black is not back after all

Indications of a CB spin-off were everywhere. VP & GM Jason Rolleston even stated: “Carbon Black is back”. Broadcom now seems to have altered its course. No suitable buyer is said to have been found, as was claimed just under a month ago. Late last week, reports became even more stark: many employees are seemingly getting laid off. It is not yet known how many employees are involved.

In an alleged internal e-mail, employees are informed by an executive about Broadcom’s decision. The sender reminds fired colleagues that they will be wanted elsewhere and that the forced departure is not their fault. The e-mail does emphasize that the IT industry is a harshly competitive playing field, in which such decisions are necessary.

Either way, this move is entirely in keeping with Broadcom’s reputation. After its acquisitions, it has repeatedly thinned its workforce with abandon, with only the most profitable initiatives left standing. In doing so, Broadcom focuses on the most lucrative customers, something that has already caused great tumult and uncertainty within the VMware ecosystem.

Swallowed up by Symantec?

The thinning out of CB appears to be headed for a blending of its services with Symantec. Presumably, Broadcom will want to address Symantec’s problematic areas by supplementing the division with CB’s expertise. A still-available VMware page comparing Carbon Black to Symantec shows what we can expect in this regard. On said page, CB criticizes the quality of Symantec’s Endpoint Detection & Response, which is seen as “bolted on” rather than an integral part of the security solution. It also claims Symantec does not utilize telemetry to its full potential, and there are not enough customizable prevention tools, in addition to “inflexible” control mechanisms and offline features. By contrast, CB claims its endpoint solutions are well-integrated. It too boasts of a better Detection & Response solution and broader deployment of its software across cloud and on-prem.

None of this is easily integrated with existing Symantec offerings. However, now that it has become apparent that a potential buyer with an attractive offer cannot be found immediately, Broadcom will presumably try to make the most of what will remain of Carbon Black.

Also read: Liveblog Broadcom/VMware: VMware EUC finds new home at KKR for $3.8 billion