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How the upcoming acquisition of VeriSign's Authentication business will affect the issuance and availability of SSL Certificates

Created: 18 Jun 2010 • Updated: 18 Dec 2012 • 3 comments
Tim Callan's picture
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Since the recent announcement of Symantec's intention to acquire the VeriSign Authentication business, we've caught wind of some odd and unsubstantiated rumors. I'd like to take this occasion to clear up a few of the wilder ones.

Rumor: After the acquisition there will be no more VeriSign SSL Certificates issued.
Reply: Does anybody really believe that? Would Symantec pay $1.3 billion for a business in order to immediately and unceremoniously shut it down? Seems mighty unlikely to me. And yes, Symantec will have the right to continue doing business on legacy VeriSign products for some years so that we can achieve a smooth transition.

Rumor: The familiar check mark will disappear from the VeriSign seal.
Reply: Wrong again. As part of the acquisition Symantec is buying the intellectual property that today is the VeriSign check mark, including all trade marks and service marks surrounding it and the seal. That means the go-forward SSL business will continue to use the check mark, and it will stay on the seal.

Rumor: The VeriSign seal will have to change.
Reply: In the long term, that's true. At a bare minimum, it would make sense to transition off the word VeriSign. If research reveals other changes that would maximize consumer trust in the seal, those are possible as well. However, Symantec will retain the right to operate the VeriSign seal exactly as it is for quite a while, which will give us plenty of time to plan and execute a smooth migration through any changes that are necessary or beneficial.

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Greg's picture

I don't understand why Symantec wouldn't just run the SSL part of their business under the name Verisign.

Because of the cost to make a switch like that, as well as the fact that the SSL industry is basically built on the reputation of the CA's name, I think they should leave things as is.

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Aaron Anderson's picture

@TimCallan Justgot @ComodoBusiness salescall implying @Verisign end w/@symantec http://u.nu/42dyc lol Id rather $pend for #1 browser trust!

I was still curious though on ONE (critical for me)item will the trust of VeriSign and how it is so heavily integrated in the Internet Explorer browser (pre-installed CA trust) going to be maintained throughout the migratory process as I evolve to a Symantec customer?

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Tim Callan's picture

@ Aaron Anderson. I continue to be disappointed (but alas not surprised) at the deceptive tactics we seen Comodo engaging in. Telling people that we'll be unable to issue VeriSign certificates after the Symantec acquisition is patently untrue and something we've stated publicly in no ambiguous terms. In fact, we have served Comodo with a cease-and-desist letter in an effort to stop them spreading these lies.

In response to your question, yes, the trusted VeriSign roots will go to Symantec (as will the Thawte, Equifax, and GeoTrust roots) and will continue working exactly as they work now.

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