NATICK, Mass. and CUPERTINO, Calif. --April 28, 1997-- SystemSoft Corporation (Nasdaq:SYSF), makers of the SystemWizard family of automated problem-resolution technologies, and Symantec Corporation (Nasdaq: SYMC), one of the world's largest developers of PC software, today announced they have completed a strategic cross-licensing, joint development, and marketing agreement to create a sophisticated new call-avoidance/problem-resolution client that combines the best features from each company's technology.
The agreement calls for the firms to jointly develop a combined client product that will provide unprecedented functionality for analyzing, diagnosing, repairing and protecting the PC. It will include SystemWizard's acclaimed diagnosis engine and expert Knowledge Bases, and automated instrumentation features for automatically fixing up to 20 percent of support problems on-the-spot. In addition, the combined product will use PC Handyman's Norton CrashGuard and AntiFreeze, Norton AntiVirus, LiveUpdate, more than 100 instructional video files, instructional text files, and automated solutions that solve more than 20,000 common PC problems.
Under the agreement, SystemSoft will market jointly developed products to the OEM, ISV, and IHV markets. Symantec will market jointly developed products to its traditional retail distribution channels worldwide. SystemSoft will ship the first version of the combined product to PC OEMs this week for incorporation into their systems. The retail-specific version of the product will ship to resellers later this year.
"We are extremely proud to partner with SystemSoft because of their extraordinary strengths in automated problem resolution, their in-depth expertise in system-level software, and their strong presence in the OEM channel," said Enrique Salem, vice president and chief technical officer of Symantec. "SystemSoft's channel and products are a perfect complement to Symantec's channel and products, giving us even greater breadth and functionality. The result is what we believe is the industry's most comprehensive and compelling client software for diagnosing, repairing, and protecting the PC."
"This strategic agreement with Symantec marks a new era in support-call-management software," said Robert F. Angelo, chairman, president, and CEO of SystemSoft. "The extended and acclaimed functionality of PC Handyman gives the SystemWizard Client an even richer set of tools for call-avoidance. For example, the preventive maintenance routines and instructional videos on how to configure and operate the PC in PC Handyman can play a key role in reducing call volumes. We think SystemWizard and PC Handyman represent the ultimate 'Dream Team' for both PC users and OEM support centers."
PC Handyman Adds Rich Functionality
PC Handyman lets computer users prevent and correct PC problems without asking for help from a PC expert, calling manufacturers' technical support, or searching through manuals filled with "techno-babble." Not only does PC Handyman automatically correct most common hardware and software problems, it also offers thousands of interactive solutions to a wide range of user-specific questions and problems. Multimedia videos are available to help users walk through problems.
PC Handyman provides solutions for more than 20,000 potential problems in three forms: automated repair, instructional video clips and instructional text. From printer hook-up complications to changing the desktop icons to serious hard drive problems, PC Handyman addresses the frustrations many first-time PC owners are experiencing using Windows 95. The application constantly runs in the background and alerts users when it discovers a problem and fixes it. The user can also "call up" the application with a specific question.
PC Handyman uses artificial intelligence (AI) to anticipate and analyze different problem scenarios. In addition, through integrated functions provided by Symantec's Norton family of tools and utilities, PC Handyman automatically performs 16 regularly scheduled software and hardware checks, including looking for viruses, low disk space, low memory, and disk errors.
SystemWizard Automates and Assists the Technical Support Process
SystemWizard is SystemSoft's pioneering family of automated problem-resolution software that addresses the entire support-call spectrum through four phases:
Call Deflection -- If SystemWizard cannot solve the problem on the user's PC, it will seamlessly connect through the Internet or modem to a SystemWizard Server at the support center. SystemWizard can detour the call from reaching the OEM support center by accessing a larger, more up-to-date superset of solutions on an automated SystemWizard Server. Call Deflection through SystemWizard Server targets the solution of an additional 10 percent of newer or more complex problems that are not solved by SystemWizard Client.
Call Efficiency -- If it does not contain a solution, SystemWizard Client will contact and transfer to the support representative a SystemWizard "Electronic Trouble Ticket," a serialized case record with the valuable diagnostic information that SystemWizard has gathered and analyzed. SystemWizard Trouble Tickets are currently customized to individual OEM specifications. Future Trouble Tickets will conform to specifications and standards set forth by the Desktop Management Task Force (DMTF) as they become available. The support representative can then use SystemWizard Technician to both speak to the user and further diagnose the user's PC remotely, modify configuration settings, download additional required files, and solve the problem. This is accomplished over a single phone line. Call Efficiency through SystemWizard Technician can reduce call times by an average of two minutes and much more for deeply technical calls.
Call Resolution -- After the solution is implemented, the support representative can then use SystemWizard Builder to create and publish a solution case on SystemWizard Server, where it will be available automatically to SystemWizard Clients for subsequent users who experience the same difficulty. SystemWizard solves the problem "once and for all."
SystemSoft is the pioneer in system-level software, connectivity and problem-resolution technologies and the maker of SystemWizard call-avoidance software and CardWizard( PC Card troubleshooting and configuration software. Other products include a family of Universal Serial Bus firmware and software, Plug-and-Play software, power-management software, and BIOS. SystemSoft licenses its products primarily to Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), including manufacturers of PCs, and independent software and hardware vendors. Customers include Acer, Apple Computer, AST Computer, Compaq, Dell, Digital Equipment Corporation, Gateway 2000, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Intel, Micron Electronics, Microsoft, Motorola, Packard Bell NEC, and Toshiba. Based in Natick, Mass., SystemSoft employs more than 250 at its headquarters and in offices in Santa Clara, Calif., Oxnard, Calif., Boulder, Colo., Yokohama, Japan, and Taipei, Taiwan.
SystemSoft: Any statements that are not historical facts contained in this release are forward looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties, including but not limited to those relating to the inability to complete the proposed acquisition as scheduled, variances between actual and estimated costs and expenses, product demand, pricing, market acceptance, the effect of economic conditions, intellectual property rights and litigation and the outcome of governmental proceedings, competitive products, risks in product and technology development, the results of financing efforts, the ability to complete transactions, and other risks identified in the Company's Securities and Exchange Commission filings.
Symantec: This press release contains forward-looking statements. There are certain important factors that could cause Symantec's future development efforts to differ materially from those anticipated by some of the statements made above. Among these are the anticipation of the growth of certain market segments, the positioning of Symantec's products in those segments, the competitive environment in the software industry, dependence on other products, changes to operating systems and product strategy by vendors of operating systems, and the importance of new Symantec products. Additional information concerning those and other factors is contained in the "Risk Factors" section of the company's annual report on form 10-K for the fiscal year ended March 29, 1996 and the company's quarterly report on form 10-Q for the fiscal quarter ended December 27, 1996.
Information on SystemSoft products and services is available on the World Wide Web at http://www.systemsoft.com