Responding to those comments, IBM's Lovejoy said that while IBM has continued to make investments in expanding its security product portfolio -- most notably via the acquisition of Internet Security Systems for $1.3 billion in August 2006 -- that it will continue to foster a best-of-breed approach using its partners to ensure it meets its customers' needs.
She also noted that IBM's services business would never have grown to become over half of the company's annual revenue without a "vendor agnostic" approach.
Industry experts said that IBM and its security partners are likely to compete more frequently as the company acquires additional products and its rivals build out their services and risk management capabilities.
However, said Paul Stamp, analyst with Forrester Research, all the involved parties likely have too much riding on their existing partnerships for any competitive ill will to affect their relationships.
"There will be competition, but I think that IBM sees this risk management issue as going far beyond what we consider traditional security, they are looking more at setting policies and security within a larger IT management framework that includes performance management, data governance and overall business services issues," said Stamp.
"If anything I think Symantec will compete with them more in some areas, and there will be areas where [Symantec] has some individual strengths, but these companies all need to partner," he said. "You also have to remember that customers IT shops aren't monolithic, and each company will continue to sell into different constituencies; in the end there should be room for everyone."