Symantec is set to announce a revamp of its software-as-a-service products while admitting that the take-up of its cloud-based offerings had been disappointing.

The company has announced further details of it online product,  NetBackup 7.0, which is expected out the second half of the next fiscal year. The upgrade will include deduplication and application recovery for Oracle, while Backup Exec 2010 will include a light version of Enterprise Vault in it The company has also announced further cloud-based storage efforts through its joint venture with Huawei in China, mainly to be able to deliver cloud-based storage systems to firms based in that country. Symantec also can be expected to detail various types of host- and hybrid cloud-based SaaS offerings in the area of messaging security later this year.

Speaking at the company's financial anaylyst event, Enrique Salem, president and CEO, kicked off the event with the investment industry's analysts by saying Symantec intends to expand into software-as-a-service, an area in which it already has experience (the company now backs up 32 petabytes of customer data in the cloud with continuing growth at 5 petabytes each quarter). Salem predicted SaaS, in which Symantec will have new offerings, could comprise "15 percent of total revenues in the next five years."

The company however said that its efforts in the small to mid-sized business could have been better. "We've fallen short on delivering on the needs of small-business customers," admitted Greg Hughes, group president of Symantec's Enterprise Products Group. A specially-designed version of Symantec's Endpoint Security product for SMBs, released in May, is the vendor's latest attempt to woo these customers.

And on the prickly question of the $375,000 fine slapped against Symantec (and McAfee separately) this week regarding the automatic charging of customers for software subscriptions without their permission-Symantec has an automatic renewal-by-default policy but was accused of burying that information too deeply in contracts-Symantec today indicated it would be making changes to its method of charging customers through the opt-out approach.

Although Symantec has grown to be a $6 billion company by making about 30 acquisitions, it may not be done with buyouts, Salem hinted.

But instead of entering wholly new market segments through acquisitions, Symantec's strategy next time around is likely to be targeting companies in areas where it already is strong in order to drive consolidation, Salem said.