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UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
 
 FORM 10-K 
(Mark One)
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019
or
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
 For the transition period from              to             
Commission file number: 001-34511
______________________________________
 FORTINET, INC.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
______________________________________

Delaware
77-0560389
(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)
(I.R.S. Employer
Identification No.)


899 Kifer Road
Sunnyvale, California 94086
(Address of principal executive offices, including zip code)


(408) 235-7700
(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)
 
 Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act: 
Common Stock, $0.001 Par Value
FTNT
The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC
 
 
 
(Title of each class)
(Trading Symbol)
(Name of exchange on which registered)
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.    Yes      No  
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act.    Yes   No  




Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Exchange Act”) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.    Yes      No  
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).    Yes    No   
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act. 
Large accelerated filer
 
 
Accelerated filer
Non-accelerated filer
 
 
Smaller reporting company
 
Emerging growth company
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.  
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act).    Yes       No  
The aggregate market value of voting stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant, as of June 28, 2019, the last business day of the registrant’s most recently completed second quarter, was $8,793,866,992 (based on the closing price for shares of the registrant’s common stock as reported by The Nasdaq Global Select Market on that date). Shares of common stock held by each executive officer, director, and holder of 5% or more of the registrant’s outstanding common stock have been excluded in that such persons may be deemed to be affiliates. This determination of affiliate status is not necessarily a conclusive determination for other purposes.
As of February 21, 2020, there were 172,514,722 shares of the registrant’s common stock outstanding.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Portions of the registrant’s definitive Proxy Statement relating to its 2020 Annual Meeting of Stockholders are incorporated by reference into Part III of this Annual Report on Form 10-K where indicated. Such Proxy Statement will be filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission within 120 days after the end of the fiscal year to which this report relates.




FORTINET, INC.
ANNUAL REPORT ON FORM 10-K
For the Year Ended December 31, 2019
Table of Contents
 
 
 
 
 
 
Page
 
 
 
 
Part I
 
 
 
 
Item 1.
Item 1A.
Item 1B.
Item 2.
Item 3.
Item 4.
 
 
 
 
Part II
 
 
 
 
Item 5.
Item 6.
Item 7.
Item 7A.
Item 8.
Item 9.
Item 9A.
Item 9B.
 
 
 
 
Part III
 
 
 
 
Item 10.
Item 11.
Item 12.
Item 13.
Item 14.
 
 
 
 
Part IV
 
 
 
 
Item 15.
 
 


 



Part I

ITEM 1.    Business
    
Overview

Fortinet is a global leader in cybersecurity solutions provided to a wide variety of organizations, such as enterprises, communication service providers, government organizations and small businesses. Our cybersecurity solutions are designed to provide broad visibility and segmentation of the digital attack surface through our integrated Fortinet Security Fabric platform, which features automated protection, detection and response.

The focus areas of our business consist of:

Network Security—We derive a majority of product sales from our FortiGate network security appliances. Our FortiGate network security appliances include a broad set of built-in security and networking features and functionalities, including firewall, next-generation firewall, secure web gateway, secure sockets layer (“SSL”) inspection, software-defined wide-area network (“SD-WAN”), intrusion prevention, SSL data leak prevention, virtual private network (“VPN”), switch and wireless controller and wide area network edge. Our network security appliances are managed by our FortiOS network operating system, which provides the foundation for FortiGate security functions. We enhance the performance of our network security appliances from branch to data center by designing and implementing Security Processing Unit (“SPU”) technology within our appliances, enabling us to add security and network functionality with minimal impact to network throughput performance.

Infrastructure Security—The Fortinet Security Fabric platform is a broad, automated and integrated security platform that extends beyond the network to cover other attack vectors. Other infrastructure solutions covered include Secure Access (Wi-Fi and switch).

Cloud Security—We help customers connect securely to and across their hybrid, public and private cloud environments by offering security through our virtual firewall and other software products in public and private cloud environments. Our cloud security solutions, including virtual appliances and hosted solutions, extend the core capabilities of the Fortinet Security Fabric platform to provide businesses with the same level of cybersecurity and threat intelligence in and across cloud environments that they receive on their physical networks. Fortinet cloud security offerings are available across all major cloud providers, including Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, Oracle Cloud, Alibaba Cloud and IBM Cloud. Our Cloud Security portfolio also includes securing applications, including email and web.

Endpoint Protection, Internet of Things and Operational Technology Security—We protect end-customers from advanced threats that target their devices and the data that reside on them through our advanced endpoint solutions that provide core endpoint protection, advanced threat protection, incident monitoring, and response. Additionally, the proliferation of Internet of Things (“IoT”) and the digitization of Operational Technology (“OT”) devices has generated new opportunities for us to grow our business. We offer network access control solutions that provide visibility, control and automated event responses in order to secure IoT devices.

We also develop and provide Artificial Intelligence (“AI”)-driven security operations solutions, including FortiGuard security services, that can be applied across the entire Fortinet Security Fabric platform. These solutions help customers better secure their environments by delivering deeper intelligence and insights and by reducing the gaps in security skills and resources that are present in many organizations.

In addition to our security solutions, our customers, channel partners and end-customers may purchase FortiGuard and other security subscription services to receive threat intelligence updates, FortiCare technical support services across all of our products and the support of Technical Account Managers, Resident Engineers and professional service consultants for implementations or training services.

During our year ended December 31, 2019, we generated total revenue of $2.16 billion and net income of $326.5 million. See Part II, Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K for more information on our consolidated balance sheets as of December 31, 2019 and 2018 and our consolidated statements of income, comprehensive income, stockholders’ equity, and cash flows for each of the three years ended December 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017.


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We were incorporated in Delaware in November 2000. Our principal executive office is located at 899 Kifer Road, Sunnyvale, California 94086 and our telephone number at that location is (408) 235-7700.

Technology and Architecture

The Fortinet Security Fabric platform helps organizations secure their environments and reduce their security and network complexities. The Fortinet Security Fabric platform has an open architecture designed to connect Fortinet solutions and third-party solutions into a single ecosystem.

Our proprietary SPU hardware architecture, FortiOS operating system and associated security and networking functions are combined to form the Fortinet Security Fabric platform. This approach to security ties together discrete security solutions into an integrated whole, which enables our products to perform security processing for networks with high throughput requirements across a broad threat landscape.

SPU

Our proprietary SPUs are Application-Specific Integrated Circuits (“ASICs”) that include (i) the Content Processor (“SPU CP”), (ii) the Network Processor (“SPU NP”) and (iii) the System-on-a-Chip (“SPU SoC”). Each successive generation of SPU adds network speed and the capacity to perform security functions. Our SPUs are designed to enhance the security processing capabilities implemented in software by accelerating computationally intensive tasks such as firewall policy enforcement, SD-WAN, network address translation, Intrusion Prevention Systems (“IPS”) threat detection and encryption.

The use of SPUs allows our appliances to deliver security functionality with minimal impact to network throughput performance, which we believe delivers a lower total cost of ownership (“TCO”) to our customers. As the security needs of our end-customers increase, we believe that our TCO and our SPUs will give our products a competitive advantage against other architectural approaches.

Entry-level FortiGate products often use the SPU SoC to provide the necessary acceleration at this level. Mid-range FortiGate products use a central processing unit (“CPU”) and include the SPU NP and SPU CP hardware acceleration. The high-end FortiGate products use multiple CPUs, SPU CPs and SPU NPs.

FortiOS

Our proprietary FortiOS operating system provides the foundation for the operation of all FortiGate appliances, whether physical, virtual, private or public cloud based, and is at the heart of the Fortinet Security Fabric platform. We make regular updates to FortiOS available through our FortiCare support services.

The security and networking capabilities of the Fortinet Security Fabric platform are controlled through FortiOS. The core kernel functions to the security processing feature sets work together to provide a highly integrated solution. FortiOS provides (i) multiple layers of security, including a hardened kernel layer providing protection for the FortiGate system, (ii) a network security layer, providing security for end-customers’ network infrastructures and (iii) application content protection, providing security for end-customers’ workstations and applications. FortiOS directs the operations of processors and SPUs and provides system management functions such as command line, graphical user interfaces, multiple network and security topology views.

Key high-level functions and capabilities of FortiOS include:

key enablement for the Fortinet Security Fabric platform architecture;
optionality to configure FortiGate appliances into different security environments, such as our Internal Network Firewall, Next-Generation Firewall and Data Center Firewall;
configuration of the physical aspects of the appliance, such as ports, onboard Wi-Fi and switching;
extension of the Fortinet Security Fabric platform through direct management of FortiSwitch and FortiAP devices;
key network functions such as routing and deployment modes (network routing, transparent, sniffer, etc.);
the ability to deploy and orchestrate SD-WAN instances;
implementation of security updates from our FortiGuard distribution network, delivering FortiGuard security subscription services and intelligence, such as IPS, antivirus and application control;
native integrations with major cloud provider platforms; and
real-time reporting and logging.


2


FortiOS also enables advanced, integrated routing and switching, allowing end-customers to deploy FortiGate devices within a wide variety of networks, as well as providing a direct replacement solution option for legacy switching and routing equipment. FortiOS implements a suite of commonly used standards-based routing protocols as well as network address translation technologies, allowing the FortiGate appliance to integrate and operate in a wide variety of network environments. Additional features include virtual domain capabilities, which can provide support for multiple customers on a single device or FortiOS instance. FortiOS also provides capabilities for the logging of traffic for forensic analysis purposes, which are particularly important for regulatory compliance initiatives such as payment card industry data security standards. FortiOS is designed to help control network traffic in order to optimize performance by including functionality such as packet classification, queue disciplines, policy enforcement, congestion management, wide-area network (“WAN”) optimization and caching. These features enable administrators to set the appropriate configurations and policies that meet their infrastructure needs.

Products

Our core product offerings consist of our FortiGate product family and our non-FortiGate products, all of which may be purchased to complement commercial and enterprise deployments. Our FortiGate hardware and software licenses are sold with a set of broad security services. These security services are enabled by FortiGuard Labs, which provides extensive threat research and artificial intelligence capabilities from a global cloud network to deliver protection services to each FortiGate appliance that is registered by the end-customer. Our non-FortiGate products span the full range of our customers’ core security needs and include the Fortinet Security Fabric platform, email security, cloud security, endpoint protection and other products.

FortiGate

FortiGate offers a broad set of security and networking functions, including firewall, intrusion prevention, anti-malware, VPN, application control, web filtering, anti-spam and WAN acceleration. FortiGate is available as a hardware appliance or as a virtual appliance. All FortiGate appliances run on FortiOS. FortiGate platforms can be centrally managed through both embedded web-based and command line interfaces, as well as through FortiManager, which provides a central management architecture for FortiGate appliances and the Fortinet Security Fabric platform.

By combining multiple network security functions in our purpose-built security platform, FortiGate appliances provide broad, high-quality protection capabilities and deployment flexibility while reducing the operational burden and costs associated with managing multiple point products. With over 40 models in the FortiGate product line, FortiGate is designed to address security requirements for small- to medium-sized businesses, large enterprises and government organizations worldwide.

Typically, all FortiGate hardware appliances include our SPUs to accelerate content and network security features implemented within FortiOS. The significant differences between each model are the performance and scalability targets each model is designed to meet, while the security features and associated services offered are common throughout all models. The FortiGate-20 through -90 series models are designed for perimeter protection for small- to medium-sized businesses and enterprises with distributed offices. The FortiGate-100 through -900 series models are designed for perimeter deployment in medium-sized to large enterprise networks. The FortiGate-1000 through -7000 series models deliver high performance and scalable network security functionality for perimeter, data center and core deployment in large enterprises.

We also incorporate additional technologies within FortiGate appliances that differentiate our solutions, including data leak protection, traffic optimization, SSL inspection, threat vulnerability management and wireless controller technology. In addition to these in-built features, we offer a full range of wireless access points and controllers, complementing FortiGate appliances with the flexibility of wireless local area network access.

Fortinet Security Fabric Platform and Non-FortiGate Products

As part of the Fortinet Security Fabric platform, we offer products that provide network security, end point security, cloud security, web-based application security, identity and access management, sandbox protection and email security. The integration of devices using open standards, common operating systems, and unified management platforms enables the sharing and correlation of real-time threat intelligence. The following Fortinet products can operate as part of the Fortinet Security Fabric platform.

FortiSwitch—Our FortiSwitch product family provides secure switching solutions that can be deployed in traditional network switching designs with Layer 2 or Layer 3 access control features. FortiSwitch creates a scalable and secure access layer for customers to connect their end devices, such as computers and laptops, as well as to expand the field of IoT devices.


3


FortiAP—Our FortiAP product family provides secure wireless networking solutions. FortiAPs allow a variety of management options including from the cloud and directly from our FortiGate firewall product. FortiAPs create a scalable and secure access layer for connecting wireless devices such as computers, laptops, cell phones and tablets, as well as IoT devices.

FortiExtender—Our FortiExtender appliance provides a WAN connection to our FortiGate products using wireless broadband networks. End-customers that use multiple WAN connections, including SD-WAN, can use FortiExtender for one of those WAN links. FortiExtender can also be used as the primary connection for a location where wireless is the preferred broadband option.

FortiAnalyzer—Our FortiAnalyzer family of products provides centralized network logging, analyzing and reporting solutions that securely aggregate content and log data from our FortiGate devices, other Fortinet products and third-party devices to enable network logging, analysis and reporting.

FortiManager—Our FortiManager family of products provides a central and scalable management solution for our FortiGate products, including software updates, configuration, policy settings and security updates. FortiManager facilitates the coordination of policy-based provisioning, device configuration and operating system revision management, as well as network security monitoring and device control.

FortiWeb—Our FortiWeb product family provides web application firewall solutions, including internet protocol (“IP”) reputation and anti-botnet security, distributed denial-of-service protection, protocol validation, application attack signatures and deep learning AI to protect applications against a wide range of threats.

FortiMail—Our FortiMail product family provides secure email gateway solutions. FortiMail utilizes the technologies and security services from FortiGuard Labs to deliver protection against threats that use email as an attack vector. FortiMail also integrates data protection capabilities to avoid data loss.

FortiSandbox—Our FortiSandbox technology delivers proactive detection and mitigation with the ability to generate a directly actionable protection capability. Available in both hardware and cloud-based form, the FortiSandbox subjects suspicious code to a set of multi-layer protection techniques, culminating in execution within an operating system, allowing real-time behavioral analysis to be performed in a secure environment. When malicious code is identified, a signature can be generated locally for distribution across the Fortinet Security Fabric platform.

FortiSIEM—Our FortiSIEM family of software solutions provides a cloud-ready security information and event management (“SIEM”) solution. FortiSIEM unifies analytics that are traditionally monitored discretely, parses the information and then processes it in an event-based analytics engine for handling real-time searches, rules, dashboards and ad-hoc queries. This unification of diverse sources of data enables organizations to create comprehensive dashboards and reports to identify root causes of threats, and take the steps necessary to remediate and prevent them in the future.

FortiToken and FortiAuthenticator—Our FortiToken and FortiAuthenticator product families allow organizations to implement multi-factor authentication to better safeguard systems, assets and data.

FortiNAC—Our FortiNAC product family enables customers to implement zero trust network access strategies by gaining visibility into devices connecting into the network, including IoT devices, in order to meet minimum required security postures and to control access.

All of the products listed above are available in multiple form factors, such as hardware, virtual machine, cloud or software-as-a-service (“SaaS”), except for FortiSwitch, FortiAP and FortiExtender, which are available as hardware appliances only.

In the fourth quarter of 2019, we acquired enSilo Limited (“enSilo”), a provider of endpoint detection and response products and services, and CyberSponse, Inc. (“CyberSponse”), a provider of security orchestration, automation and response products and services. We expect that the enSilo acquisition will further enhance the Fortinet Security Fabric platform and strengthen endpoint and network security solutions by providing customers with advanced endpoint security. We expect that the CyberSponse acquisition will further extend the automation and incident response capabilities of our FortiAnalyzer, FortiSIEM and FortiGate solutions.

4



Services

FortiGuard Security Subscription Services

Security requirements are dynamic due to the constantly changing nature of threats. Our FortiGuard security subscription services are designed to quickly deliver new threat detection and prevention capabilities to end-customers worldwide as new threats evolve. Our FortiGuard Labs global threat research team identifies emerging threats, collects threat samples, and replicates, reviews, characterizes and collates attack data through the use of AI, automation and original research. Based on this research, we develop updates for virus signatures, attack definitions, scanning engines and other security solution components to distribute to end-customers. FortiGuard functionality varies depending on which FortiGate and non-FortiGate products the end-customer is using, but will typically include one or more of the following functions: application control, antivirus, intrusion prevention, web filtering, anti-spam, VPN functions, email image analysis, vulnerability management, database functions, web functions, advanced threat protection, sandboxing and domain and IP reputation services.

End-customers purchase FortiGuard security subscription services in advance, typically with terms of one to five years. We provide FortiGuard security subscription services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
 
FortiCare Technical Support Services

Our FortiCare support services portfolio includes technical support and extended product warranty. For our standard technical support, our channel partners may provide first-level support to the end-customer. We also provide first-level support to our end-customers, as well as second- and third-level support as appropriate. We also provide knowledge management tools and customer self-help portals to help augment our support capabilities in an efficient and scalable manner. We deliver technical support to partners and end-customers 24 hours a day, seven days a week, through worldwide regional technical support centers. In addition to our technical support services, we offer a range of advanced services, including premium support, professional services and replacement parts delivery.

Service Bundles

We also sell FortiGuard and FortiCare services as bundles, consolidating security services into packages that would be typical for certain types of end-customer.

Advanced Threat Protection—Our Advanced Threat Protection bundle includes application control, antivirus, IP reputation and anti-botnet security, mobile security, data sanitation, sandbox, intrusion prevention and virus outbreak protection, along with FortiCare support services.

Unified Threat Protection—Our Unified Threat Protection bundle includes antispam, antivirus, data sanitation, sandbox, application control, intrusion prevention, virus outbreak protection and web filtering, along with FortiCare support services.

Enterprise Protection—Our Enterprise Protection bundle includes application control, intrusion prevention, web filtering, sandbox, antivirus, mobile security, IP reputation and anti-botnet security, antispam, cloud access security broker (“CASB”), industrial control systems, security rating, virus outbreak protection and data sanitation, along with FortiCare support services.

360 Protection—Our 360 Protection bundle includes application control, intrusion prevention, web filtering, sandbox, antivirus, mobile security, IP reputation and anti-botnet security, antispam, CASB, industrial control systems, security rating, virus outbreak protection and data sanitation, along with enhanced FortiCare support services and operational services such as SD-WAN orchestration and cloud-based management and visibility of the Fortinet Security Fabric platform.

Professional Services

We offer professional services to end-customers including technical account managers (“TAMs”), resident engineers (“REs”) and professional service consultants and security architects for implementations.


5


TAMs and REs are dedicated support engineers available to help identify and eliminate issues before problems arise. Each TAM and RE acts as a single point of contact and customer advocate within Fortinet, offering a deep understanding of our customers’ businesses and security requirements.

Our professional services consultants and security architects help to formulate customer-specific security strategies, develop roadmaps for securing digital initiatives and design product deployments. They work closely with end-customers to implement our products according to design, utilizing network analysis tools, traffic simulation software and scripts.

Training Services

We offer training services to our end-customers and channel partners through our training department and authorized training partners. We have also implemented a training certification program, Network Security Expert, to help ensure an understanding of our products and services.

Customers

We typically sell our security solutions to channel partners, who in turn sell to end-customers. At times, we also sell directly to end-customers. Our end-customers are located in over 80 countries and include small and medium-sized businesses, large enterprises and government organizations across a wide range of industries, including telecommunications, government, financial services, retail, technology, education, manufacturing and healthcare. An end-customer deployment may involve as few as one or as many as thousands of appliances and other Fortinet Security Fabric platform products, depending on the end-customer’s size and security requirements. Customers may also access our products via the cloud through certain cloud providers such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, Oracle Cloud, Alibaba Cloud and IBM Cloud. Typically, our customers also purchase our FortiGuard security subscription services and FortiCare technical support services.

During 2019, Exclusive Networks Group (“Exclusive”) and Ingram Micro Inc. (“Ingram Micro”) accounted for 31% and 11% of total revenue, respectively. During 2018, Exclusive and Ingram Micro accounted for 30% and 10% of total revenue, respectively. During 2017, Exclusive accounted for 25% of total revenue.

Sales and Marketing

We primarily sell our products and services through a two-tier distribution model. We sell to distributors that sell to networking security and enterprise-focused resellers and to service providers and managed security service providers (“MSSPs”), who, in turn, sell to our end-customers. In certain cases, we sell directly to large service providers and major systems integrators. We work with many technology distributors, including Exclusive, Ingram Micro, Synnex Corporation, Tech Data Corporation and Arrow Electronics, Inc.

We support our channel partners with a dedicated team of experienced channel account managers, sales professionals and sales engineers who provide business planning, joint marketing strategy, and pre-sales and operational sales support. Additionally, our sales teams help drive and support large enterprise and service provider sales through a direct touch model. Our sales professionals and engineers typically work closely with our channel partners and directly engage with large end-customers to address their unique security and deployment requirements. To support our broadly dispersed global channel and end-customer base, we have sales professionals in over 80 countries around the world.

Our marketing strategy is focused on building our brand and driving end-customer demand for our security solutions. We use a combination of internal marketing professionals and a network of regional and global channel partners. Our internal marketing organization is responsible for messaging, branding, demand generation, product marketing, packaging support and subscription services into service bundles, channel marketing, partner incentives and promotions, event marketing, digital marketing, communications, analyst relations, public relations and sales enablement. We focus our resources on campaigns, programs and activities that can be leveraged by partners worldwide to extend our marketing reach, such as sales tools and collateral, product awards and technical certifications, media engagement, training, regional seminars and conferences, webinars and various other demand-generation activities.

In 2019, we continued to invest in sales and marketing resources, particularly in the enterprise market where we believe there is an opportunity to expand our business. We intend to continue to make investments in our sales resources and infrastructure and marketing strategy, which are critical to support our growth.


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Manufacturing and Suppliers

We outsource the manufacturing of our security appliance products to a variety of contract manufacturers and original design manufacturers. Our current manufacturing partners include ADLINK Technology, Inc. (“ADLINK”), IBASE Technology, Inc. (“IBASE”), Micro-Star International Co. (“Micro-Star”), Senao Networks, Inc. (“Senao”), Wistron Corporation (“Wistron”) and a number of other manufacturers. The majority of our hardware is manufactured in Taiwan. We submit purchase orders to our contract manufacturers that describe the type and quantities of our products to be manufactured, the delivery date and other delivery terms. Once our products are manufactured, they are sent to either our warehouse in California or to our logistics partner in Taoyuan City, Taiwan, where accessory packaging and quality-control testing are performed. We believe that outsourcing our manufacturing and a substantial portion of our logistics enables us to focus resources on our core competencies. Our proprietary SPUs, which are key to the performance of our appliances, are built by contract manufacturers including Toshiba America Electronic Components, Inc. (“Toshiba”) and Renesas Electronics America, Inc. (“Renesas”). These contract manufacturers use foundries in Taiwan and Japan operated by either Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited (“TSMC”) or by the contract manufacturer itself.

The components included in our products are sourced from various suppliers by us or, more frequently, by our contract manufacturers. Some of the components important to our business, including certain CPUs from Intel Corporation (“Intel”); network chips from Broadcom Inc. (“Broadcom”), Marvell Technology Group Ltd. (“Marvell”) and Intel, and memory devices from Intel, ADATA Technology Co., Ltd. (“ADATA”), OCZ Technology Group, Inc., Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (“Samsung”), and Western Digital Technologies, Inc. (“Western Digital”), are available from limited or sole sources of supply.

We have no long-term contracts related to the manufacturing of our ASICs or other components that guarantee any capacity or pricing terms.

Research and Development

We focus our research and development efforts on developing new hardware and software products and services, and adding new features to existing products and services. Our development strategy is to identify features, products and systems for both software and hardware that are, or are expected to be, important to our end-customers. Our success in designing, developing, manufacturing and selling new or enhanced products will depend on a variety of factors, including identification of market demand for new products, product selection, timely implementation of product design and development, product performance, costs of development, bills of materials, effective manufacturing and assembly processes and sales and marketing.

Intellectual Property

We rely primarily on patent, trademark, copyright and trade secrets laws, confidentiality procedures and contractual provisions to protect our technology. We periodically have discussions with third parties regarding licensing Fortinet’s intellectual property and have sometimes taken legal action against competitors to protect our intellectual property, and as a result third parties have paid us fees in return for licenses or covenants-not-to-sue related to Fortinet intellectual property. As of December 31, 2019, we had 626 U.S. and foreign-issued patents and 175 pending U.S. and foreign patent applications. We also license software from third parties for inclusion in our products, including open source software and other software.

Despite our efforts to protect our rights in our technology, unauthorized parties may attempt to copy aspects of our products or obtain and use information and technology that we regard as proprietary. We generally enter into confidentiality agreements with our employees, consultants, vendors and customers, and generally limit access to and distribution of our proprietary information. However, we cannot provide assurance that the steps we take will prevent misappropriation of our technology. In addition, the laws of some foreign countries do not protect our proprietary rights to as great an extent as the laws of the United States, and many foreign countries do not enforce these laws as diligently as government agencies and private parties in the United States.

Our industry is characterized by the existence of a large number of patents and frequent claims and related litigation regarding patent and other intellectual property rights. Third parties have asserted, are currently asserting and may in the future assert patent, copyright, trademark or other intellectual property rights against us, our channel partners or our end-customers. Successful claims of infringement by a third party could prevent us from distributing certain products or performing certain services or require us to pay substantial damages (including treble damages if we are found to have willfully infringed patents or copyrights), royalties or other fees. Even if third parties offer a license to their technology, the terms of any offered license may not be acceptable and the failure to obtain a license or the costs associated with any license could cause our business, operating results or financial condition to be materially and adversely affected. In certain instances, we indemnify our end-customers, distributors and resellers against claims that our products infringe the intellectual property of third parties.

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Seasonality

For information regarding seasonality in our sales, see the section entitled “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Quarterly Results of Operations—Seasonality, Cyclicality and Quarterly Revenue Trends” in Part II, Item 7 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

Competition

The markets for our products are extremely competitive and are characterized by rapid technological change. The principal competitive factors in our markets include the following:
 
product performance, throughput, features, effectiveness, interoperability and reliability;
addition and integration of new networking and security features and technological expertise;
compliance with industry standards and certifications;
price of products and services and total cost of ownership;
brand recognition;
customer service and support across varied and complex customer segments;
sales and distribution capabilities;
size and financial stability; and
breadth of product line.

Among others, our competitors include Barracuda Networks, Inc. (“Barracuda”), Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. (“Check Point”), Cisco Systems, Inc. (“Cisco”), CrowdStrike Holdings, Inc. (“CrowdStrike”), F5 Networks, Inc. (“F5 Networks”), FireEye, Inc. (“FireEye”), Forcepoint LLC (“Forcepoint”), Imperva, Inc. (“Imperva”), Juniper Networks, Inc. (“Juniper”), McAfee, LLC (“McAfee”), Palo Alto Networks, Inc. (“Palo Alto Networks”), Proofpoint, Inc. (“Proofpoint”), SonicWALL, Inc. (“SonicWALL”), Sophos Group Plc (“Sophos”), Trend Micro Incorporated (“Trend Micro”) and Zscaler, Inc (“Zscaler”).

We believe we compete favorably based on our products’ performance, throughput, reliability, breadth and ability to work together; our ability to add and integrate new networking and security features and our technological expertise. Several competitors are significantly larger, have greater financial, technical, marketing, distribution, customer support and other resources, are more established than we are, and have significantly better brand recognition. Some of these larger competitors have substantially broader product offerings, and leverage their relationships based on other products or incorporate functionality into existing products in a manner that discourages users from purchasing our products. Based in part on these competitive pressures, we may lower prices or attempt to add incremental features and functionalities to our products.

Conditions in our markets could change rapidly and significantly as a result of technological advancements or market consolidation. The development and market acceptance of alternative technologies could decrease the demand for our products or render them obsolete. Our competitors may introduce products that are less costly, provide superior performance, are better marketed, or achieve greater market acceptance than our products. Additionally, our larger competitors often have broader product lines and are better positioned to withstand a significant reduction in capital spending by end-customers, and will therefore not be as susceptible to downturns in a particular market. The above competitive pressures are likely to continue to impact our business. We may not be able to compete successfully in the future, and competition may harm our business.

Employees

As of December 31, 2019, our total headcount was 7,082 employees and contractors. None of our U.S. employees are represented by a labor union; however, our employees in certain European and Latin American countries have the right to be represented by external labor organizations if they maintain up-to-date union membership. We have not experienced any work stoppages, and we consider our relations with our employees to be good.

Available Information

Our web site is located at https://www.fortinet.com, and our investor relations web site is located at https://investor.fortinet.com. The information posted on our website is not incorporated by reference into this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Our Annual Report on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K and amendments to reports filed or furnished pursuant to Sections 13(a) and 15(d) of the Securities Act, are available free of charge on our investor relations web site as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file such material with, or furnish it to, the SEC. You may also access all of our public filings through the SEC’s website at https://www.sec.gov.

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We webcast our earnings calls and certain events we participate in or host with members of the investment community on our investor relations web site. Additionally, we provide notifications of news or announcements regarding our financial performance, including SEC filings, investor events and press and earnings releases, as part of our investor relations web site. The contents of these web sites are not intended to be incorporated by reference into this report or in any other report or document we file.


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ITEM 1A.     Risk Factors

Investing in our common stock involves a high degree of risk. Investors should carefully consider the following risks and all other information contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, including our consolidated financial statements and the related notes, before investing in our common stock. The risks and uncertainties described below are not the only ones we face. Additional risks and uncertainties that we are unaware of, or that we currently believe are not material, also may become important factors that affect us. If any of the following risks materialize, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be materially harmed. In that case, the trading price of our common stock could decline substantially, and investors may lose some or all of their investment.

Risks Related to Our Business

Our operating results are likely to vary significantly and be unpredictable.
 
Our operating results have historically varied from period to period, and we expect that they will continue to do so as a result of a number of factors, many of which are outside of our control or may be difficult to predict, including:
 
our ability to attract and retain new end-customers or sell additional products and services to our existing end-customers;

the level of demand for our products and services, which may render forecasts inaccurate;
 
the timing of channel partner and end-customer orders, and our reliance on a concentration of shipments at the end of each quarter;
 
the timing of shipments, which may depend on factors such as inventory levels, logistics, manufacturing or shipping delays, our ability to ship new products on schedule and our ability to accurately forecast inventory requirements;

inventory management;

component and product inventory shortages, including those caused by factors outside of our control such as natural disasters and health emergencies, including earthquakes, fires, power outages, typhoons, floods, pandemics or epidemics such as the coronavirus and manmade events such as civil unrest, labor disruption, international trade disputes, international conflicts, terrorism, wars and critical infrastructure attacks;

the mix of products sold and the mix of revenue between products and services, as well as the degree to which products and services are bundled and sold together for a package price;

the purchasing practices and budgeting cycles of our channel partners and end-customers, including the effect of the end of product refresh cycles;

any decreases in demand by channel partners or end-customers, including any such decreases caused by factors outside of our control such as natural disasters and health emergencies, including earthquakes, fires, power outages, typhoons, floods, pandemics or epidemics such as the coronavirus and manmade events such as civil unrest, labor disruption, international trade disputes, international conflicts, terrorism, wars and critical infrastructure attacks;

the effectiveness of our sales organization, generally or in a particular geographic region, the time it takes to hire sales personnel and the timing of hiring, and our ability to hire and retain effective sales personnel;

sales execution risk related to effectively selling to all segments of the market, including enterprise and small- and medium-sized businesses and service providers, and to selling our broad security product and services portfolio, including, among other execution risks, risks associated with the complexity and distraction in selling to all segments and increased competition and unpredictability of timing to close sales deals with large enterprises;


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execution risk associated with our efforts to capture the opportunities related to our identified growth drivers, such as risk associated with our ability to capitalize on network security and SD-WAN, infrastructure security, cloud security and endpoint protection, IoT and OT security opportunities;

the seasonal buying patterns of our end-customers;

the timing and level of our investments in sales and marketing, and the impact of such investments on our operating expenses, operating margin and the productivity and effectiveness of execution of our sales and marketing teams;
 
the timing of revenue recognition for our sales;
 
the level of perceived threats to network security, which may fluctuate from period to period;

any actual or perceived vulnerabilities in our products or services, and any actual or perceived breach of our network or our customers’ networks;
 
changes in the requirements, market needs or buying practices and patterns of our distributors, resellers or end-customers;
 
changes in the growth rates of the network security market in particular and other security and networking markets, such as SD-WAN, for which we sell products and services;
 
the timing and success of new product and service introductions or enhancements by us or our competitors, or any other change in the competitive landscape of our industry, including consolidation among our competitors, partners or end-customers;
 
the deferral of orders from distributors, resellers or end-customers in anticipation of new products or product enhancements announced by us or our competitors;
 
increases or decreases in our billings, revenue and expenses caused by fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates or a strengthening of the U.S. dollar, as a significant portion of our expenses is incurred and paid in currencies other than the U.S. dollar, and the impact such fluctuations may have on the actual prices that our partners and customers are willing to pay for our products and services;

compliance with existing laws and regulations that are applicable to our ability to conduct business with the public sector and other sectors;

litigation, litigation fees and costs, settlements, judgments and other equitable and legal relief granted related to litigation;

the impact of cloud-based platforms on our billings, revenues, operating margins and free cash flow;
 
decisions by potential end-customers to purchase network security solutions from newer technology providers, from larger, more established security vendors or from their primary network equipment vendors;
 
price competition and increased competitiveness in our market, including the competitive pressure caused by product refresh cycles;

our ability to both increase revenues and manage and control operating expenses in order to improve our operating margins;
 
changes in customer renewal rates or attached rates for our services;
 
changes in the payment terms of services contracts or the contractual term of services contracts sold;

changes in payment terms of our contracts with service providers and distributors;

changes in our estimated annual effective tax rates;

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changes in circumstances and challenges in business conditions, including decreased demand, which may negatively impact our channel partners’ ability to sell the current inventory they hold and negatively impact their future purchases of products from us;

increased demand for cloud-based services and the uncertainty associated with transitioning to providing such services;

increased expenses, unforeseen liabilities or write-downs and any impact on results of operations from any acquisition consummated;
 
our channel partners having insufficient financial resources to withstand changes and challenges in business conditions;
 
disruptions in our channel or termination of our relationship with important channel partners, including as a result of consolidation among distributors and resellers of security solutions;
 
insolvency, credit or other difficulties confronting our key suppliers and channel partners, which could affect their ability to purchase or pay for products and services and which could disrupt our supply or distribution chain;

policy changes and uncertainty with respect to immigration laws, trade policy and tariffs, including increased tariffs applicable to countries where we manufacture our products, foreign imports and tax laws related to international commerce;

political, economic and social instability, including geo-political instability and uncertainty, such as the impact of the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union (“Brexit”);

general economic conditions, both in domestic and foreign markets;

future accounting pronouncements or changes in our accounting policies as well as the significant costs that may be incurred to adopt and comply with these new pronouncements;

possible impairments or acceleration of depreciation of our existing real estate due to our current real estate holdings and future development plans; and

legislative or regulatory changes, such as with respect to privacy, information and cybersecurity, exports, the environment and applicable accounting standards.

Any one of the factors above or the cumulative effect of some of the factors referred to above may result in significant fluctuations in our quarterly financial and other operating results. This variability and unpredictability could result in our failing to meet our internal operating plan or the expectations of securities analysts or investors for any period. If we fail to meet or exceed such expectations for these or any other reasons, the market price of our shares could fall substantially and we could face costly lawsuits, including securities class action suits. In addition, a significant percentage of our operating expenses are fixed in nature over the near term. Accordingly, in the event of revenue shortfalls, we are generally unable to mitigate the negative impact on margins in the short term.

Adverse economic conditions or reduced information technology spending may adversely impact our business.
 
Our business depends on the overall demand for information technology and on the economic health of our current and prospective customers. In addition, the purchase of our products is often discretionary and may involve a significant commitment of capital and other resources. Weak global and regional economic conditions and spending environments, geopolitical instability and uncertainty, weak economic conditions in certain regions or a reduction in information technology spending regardless of macro-economic conditions could have adverse impacts on our business, financial condition and results of operations, including longer sales cycles, lower prices for our products and services, higher default rates among our channel partners, reduced unit sales and slower or declining growth.


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Our billings, revenue, operating margin and free cash flow growth may slow or may not continue.
 
We may experience slowing growth, or a decrease, in billings, revenue, operating margin and free cash flow for a number of reasons, including a slowdown in demand for our products or services, a shift in demand from products to services, increased competition, a decrease in the growth of our overall market or softness in demand in certain geographies or industry verticals, such as the service provider industry, changes in our strategic opportunities, execution risks and our failure for any reason to continue to capitalize on sales and growth opportunities due to other risks identified in the risk factors described in this periodic report. Our expenses as a percentage of total revenue may be higher than expected if our revenue is lower than expected and, if our investments in sales and marketing and other functional areas do not result in expected billings and revenue growth, we may experience margin declines and may not be able to sustain profitability in future periods if we fail to increase billings, revenue or deferred revenue, do not appropriately manage our cost structure and free cash flow or encounter unanticipated liabilities. Any failure by us to maintain profitability, maintain our margins and continue our billings, revenue and free cash flow growth could cause the price of our common stock to materially decline.

We rely significantly on revenue from FortiGuard security subscription and FortiCare technical support services, and revenue from these services may decline or fluctuate. Because we recognize revenue from these services over the term of the relevant service period, downturns or upturns in sales of FortiGuard security subscription and FortiCare technical support services are not immediately reflected in full in our operating results.

Our FortiGuard security subscription and FortiCare technical support services revenue has historically accounted for a significant percentage of our total revenue. Revenue from the sale of new, or from the renewal of existing, FortiGuard security subscription and FortiCare technical support service contracts may decline and fluctuate as a result of a number of factors, including fluctuations in purchases of FortiGate appliances or our Fortinet Security Fabric platform products, changes in the sales mix between products and services, end-customers’ level of satisfaction with our products and services, the prices of our products and services, the prices of products and services offered by our competitors, reductions in our customers’ spending levels and the timing of revenue recognition with respect to these arrangements. If our sales of new, or renewals of existing, FortiGuard security subscription and FortiCare technical support service contracts decline, our revenue and revenue growth may decline and our business could suffer. In addition, in the event significant customers require payment terms for FortiGuard security subscription and FortiCare technical support services in arrears or for shorter periods of time than annually, such as monthly or quarterly, this may negatively impact our billings and revenue. Furthermore, we recognize FortiGuard security subscription and FortiCare technical support services revenue monthly over the term of the relevant service period, which is typically from one to five years. As a result, much of the FortiGuard security subscription and FortiCare technical support services revenue we report each quarter is the recognition of deferred revenue from FortiGuard security subscription and FortiCare technical support services contracts entered into during previous quarters or years. Consequently, a decline in new or renewed FortiGuard security subscription and FortiCare technical support services contracts in any one quarter will not be fully reflected in revenue in that quarter but will negatively affect our revenue in future quarters. Accordingly, the effect of significant downturns in sales of new, or renewals of existing, FortiGuard security subscription and FortiCare technical support services is not reflected in full in our statements of income until future periods. Our FortiGuard security subscription and FortiCare technical support services revenue also makes it difficult for us to rapidly increase our revenue through additional service sales in any period, as revenue from new and renewal support services contracts must be recognized over the applicable service period.
 
We generate a majority of revenue from sales to distributors, resellers and end-customers outside of the United States, and we are therefore subject to a number of risks associated with international sales and operations.
 
We market and sell our products throughout the world and have established sales offices in many parts of the world. Our international sales have represented a majority of our total revenue in recent periods. Therefore, we are subject to risks associated with having worldwide operations. We are also subject to a number of risks typically associated with international sales and operations, including:
 
economic or political instability in foreign markets;
 
greater difficulty in enforcing contracts and accounts receivable collection, including longer collection periods;

longer sales processes for larger deals, particularly during the summer months;

changes in regulatory requirements;
 

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difficulties and costs of staffing and managing foreign operations;
 
the uncertainty of protection for intellectual property rights in some countries;
 
costs of compliance with foreign policies, laws and regulations and the risks and costs of non-compliance with such policies, laws and regulations;

any disruption in manufacturing or shipping or decreases in demand by channel partners or end-customers, including any such disruption or decreases caused by factors outside of our control such as natural disasters and health emergencies, including earthquakes, fires, power outages, typhoons, floods, pandemics or epidemics such as the coronavirus and manmade events such as civil unrest, labor disruption, international trade disputes, international conflicts, terrorism, wars and critical infrastructure attacks;

protectionist policies and penalties, and local laws, requirements, policies and perceptions that may adversely impact a U.S.-headquartered business’s sales in certain countries outside of the United States;
 
costs of complying with, and the risks, reputational damage and other costs of non-compliance with, U.S. or other foreign laws and regulations for foreign operations, including the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the United Kingdom Bribery Act 2010, the General Data Protection Regulation (the “GDPR”), import and export control laws, trade laws and regulations, tariffs and retaliatory measures, trade barriers and economic sanctions;

other regulatory or contractual limitations on our ability to sell our products in certain foreign markets, and the risks and costs of non-compliance;

heightened risks of unfair or corrupt business practices in certain geographies and of improper or fraudulent sales or sales-related arrangements, such as sales “side agreements” to allow return rights, that could disrupt the sales team through terminations of employment or otherwise, and may adversely impact financial results as compared to those already reported or forecasted and result in restatements of financial statements and irregularities in financial statements;

our ability to effectively implement and maintain adequate internal controls to properly manage our international sales and operations;

political unrest, changes and uncertainty associated with terrorism, hostilities, war or natural disasters;

changes in foreign currency exchange rates;
 
management communication and integration problems resulting from cultural differences and geographic dispersion; and

changes in tax, tariff, employment and other laws.
 
Product and service sales and employee and contractor matters may be subject to foreign governmental regulations, which vary substantially from country to country. Further, we may be unable to keep up to date with changes in government requirements as they change over time. Failure to comply with these regulations could result in adverse effects to our business. In many foreign countries, it is common for others to engage in business practices that are prohibited by our internal policies and procedures or U.S. regulations applicable to us. Although we implemented policies and procedures designed to ensure compliance with these laws and policies, there can be no assurance that all of our employees, contractors, channel partners and agents will comply with these laws and policies. Violations of laws or key control policies by our employees, contractors, channel partners or agents could result in litigation, regulatory action, costs of investigation, delays in revenue recognition, delays in financial reporting, financial reporting misstatements, fines, penalties or the prohibition of the importation or exportation of our products and services, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations.

We may undertake corporate operating restructurings or transfers of assets that involve our group of foreign country subsidiaries through which we do business abroad, in order to maximize the operational and tax efficiency of our group structure. If ineffectual, such restructurings or transfers could increase our income tax liabilities, and in turn, increase our global effective tax rate. Moreover, our existing corporate structure and intercompany arrangements have been implemented in a

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manner that we believe is in compliance with current prevailing tax laws. However, the tax authorities of the jurisdictions in which we operate may challenge our methodologies for valuing developed technology or intercompany arrangements, which could impact our worldwide effective tax rate and harm our financial position and operating results.

If we are not successful in continuing to execute our strategy to increase our sales to large and medium-sized end-customers, our results of operations may suffer.
 
An important part of our growth strategy is to increase sales of our products to large and medium-sized businesses, service providers and government organizations. While we have increased sales in recent periods to large and medium-sized businesses, our sales volume varies by quarter and there is risk as to our level of success selling to these target customers. Such sales involve unique sales skillsets, processes and structures, are often more complex and feature a longer contract term and may be at higher discount levels. We also have experienced uneven traction selling to certain government organizations and service providers and managed security service providers (“MSSPs”), and there can be no assurance that we will be successful selling to these customers. Sales to these organizations involve risks that may not be present, or that are present to a lesser extent, with sales to smaller entities. These risks include:

increased competition from competitors that traditionally target large and medium-sized businesses, service providers and government organizations and that may already have purchase commitments from those end-customers;
 
increased purchasing power and leverage held by large end-customers in negotiating contractual arrangements;

unanticipated changes in the capital resources or purchasing behavior of large end-customers, including changes in the volume and frequency of their purchases and changes in the mix of products and services, willingness to change to cloud delivery model and related payment terms;
 
more stringent support requirements in our support service contracts, including stricter support response times, more complex requirements and increased penalties for any failure to meet support requirements;

longer sales cycles and the associated risk that substantial time and resources may be spent on a potential end-customer that elects not to purchase our products and services;

uncertainty as to timing to close large deals and any delays in closing those deals; and

longer ramp-up periods for enterprise sales personnel as compared to other sales personnel.
 
Large and medium-sized businesses, service providers and MSSPs and government organizations often undertake a significant evaluation process that results in a lengthy sales cycle, in some cases longer than 12 months. Although we have a channel sales model, our sales representatives typically engage in direct interaction with end-customers, along with our distributors and resellers, in connection with sales to large and medium-sized end-customers. We may spend substantial time, effort and money in our sales efforts without being successful in producing any sales. In addition, purchases by large and medium-sized businesses, service providers and government organizations are frequently subject to budget constraints, multiple approvals and unplanned administrative, processing and other delays. Furthermore, service providers and MSSPs represent our largest industry vertical and consolidation or continued changes in buying behavior by larger customers within this industry could negatively impact our business. Large and medium-sized businesses, service providers and MSSPs and government organizations typically have longer implementation cycles, require greater product functionality and scalability, expect a broader range of services, including design, implementation and post go-live services, demand that vendors take on a larger share of risks, require acceptance provisions that can lead to a delay in revenue recognition and expect greater payment flexibility from vendors. In addition, large and medium-sized businesses, service providers and government organizations may require that our products and services be sold differently from how we offer our products and services, which could negatively impact our operating results. Our large business and service provider customers may also become more deliberate in their purchases as they plan their next-generation network security architecture, leading them to take more time in making purchasing decisions or to purchase based only on their immediate needs. All these factors can add further risk to business conducted with these customers. In addition, if sales expected from a large and medium-sized end-customer for a particular quarter are not realized in that quarter or at all, our business, operating results and financial condition could be materially and adversely affected.


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Managing inventory of our products and product components is complex. Insufficient inventory or components may result in lost sales opportunities or delayed revenue, while excess inventory may harm our gross margins.

Managing our inventory is complex. Our channel partners may increase orders during periods of product shortages, cancel orders or not place orders commensurate with our expectations if their inventory is too high, return products or take advantage of price protection (if any is available to the particular partner) or delay orders in anticipation of new products, and accurately forecasting inventory requirements and demand can be challenging. Our channel partners also may adjust their orders in response to the supply of our products and the products of our competitors that are available to them and in response to seasonal fluctuations in end-customer demand. Furthermore, if the time required to manufacture or ship certain products increases for any reason, inventory shortfalls could result. If we cannot manufacture and ship our products due to, for example, natural disasters and health emergencies such as earthquakes, fires, power outages, typhoons, floods, pandemics and epidemics such as the coronavirus or manmade events such as civil unrest, labor disruption, international trade disputes, international conflicts, terrorism, wars and critical infrastructure attacks, our business and financial results could be materially and adversely impacted. Management of our inventory is further complicated by the significant number of different products and models that we sell which may impact our billings, revenue, margins and free cash flow. Mismanagement of our inventory, whether due to imprecise forecasting, employee errors or malfeasance, inaccurate information or otherwise, may adversely affect our results of operations.
 
Inventory management remains an area of focus as we balance the need to maintain inventory levels that are sufficient to ensure competitive lead times against the risk of inventory obsolescence because of rapidly changing technology, product transitions, customer requirements or excess inventory levels. If we ultimately determine that we have excess inventory, we may have to reduce our prices and write-down inventory, which in turn could result in lower gross margins. Alternatively, insufficient inventory levels may lead to shortages that result in delayed billings and revenue or loss of sales opportunities altogether as potential end-customers turn to competitors’ products that are readily available. For example, we have in the past experienced inventory shortages and excesses due to the variance in demand for certain products from forecasted amounts. In addition, for those channel partners that have rights of return, inventory held by such channel partners affects our results of operations. Our inventory management systems and related supply chain visibility tools may be inadequate to enable us to effectively manage inventory. If we are unable to effectively manage our inventory and that of our channel partners, our results of operations could be adversely affected.

Widespread health problems, such as the outbreak and spread of the coronavirus, could adversely affect our business in a material way.

While the majority of our products are manufactured outside of China, certain components for our products and certain of our products are manufactured in China and Taiwan. In addition, certain of our logistics and shipping operations are in Taiwan. We also have other operations in Asia. Pandemics and epidemics such as the current coronavirus outbreak or other widespread public health problems could negatively impact our business. If, for example, the coronavirus progresses in ways that disrupt the manufacture or shipment of our products or otherwise disrupt our operations, this may materially negatively impact our operating results for the first quarter of 2020 and subsequent periods, including billings, revenue, gross margins, operating margins, cash flows and other operating results and our overall business. If the coronavirus spreads in ways that continue to negatively impact the overall economy and buying patterns of partners or potential customers, this would negatively impact, and may materially negatively impact, our sales, operating results and business. If the spread of the coronavirus limits the manufacturing of our products, either by limiting components available or by limiting the actual manufacture and assembly, this likely would result in increased product backlog, lower billings, lower revenue and decreased profitability and would negatively impact, and may materially negatively impact, our operating results and business. In addition, the coronavirus has caused an increase in our expenses, including increased cancellation charges and reduced attendance fees due to the cancellation of our Accelerate Barcelona sales conference, and it may result in increased component and product manufacturing costs. These increases in expenses will likely negatively impact, and may materially negatively impact, our operating results for the first quarter 2020 and in subsequent periods. As a result of the foregoing, the coronavirus will likely negatively impact our operating results and may do so in a material way.

We are dependent on the continued services and performance of our senior management, the loss of any of whom could adversely affect our business, operating results and financial condition.

Our future performance depends on the continued services and continuing contributions of our senior management to execute on our business plan and to identify and pursue new opportunities and product innovations. The loss of services of members of senior management, particularly Ken Xie, our Co-Founder, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman, or Michael Xie, our Co-Founder, President and Chief Technology Officer, or of any of our senior sales leaders or functional area leaders, could significantly delay or prevent the achievement of our development and strategic objectives. The loss of the services or the

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distraction of our senior management for any reason could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

If we are unable to hire, retain and motivate qualified personnel, our business will suffer.
 
Our future success depends, in part, on our ability to continue to attract and retain highly skilled personnel. The loss of the services of any of our key personnel, the inability to attract or retain qualified personnel, any failure to have in place and execute an effective succession plan for key executives or delays in hiring required personnel, particularly in engineering, sales and marketing, may seriously harm our business, financial condition and results of operations. From time to time, we experience turnover in our management-level personnel. None of our key employees has an employment agreement for a specific term, and any of our employees may terminate their employment at any time. Our ability to continue to attract and retain highly skilled personnel will be critical to our future success.

Competition for highly skilled personnel is frequently intense, especially for qualified sales, support and engineering employees in network security and especially in the locations where we have a substantial presence and need for highly skilled personnel, such as the San Francisco Bay Area and Vancouver, Canada. We may not be successful in attracting, assimilating or retaining qualified personnel to fulfill our current or future needs. Also, to the extent we hire personnel from competitors, we may be subject to allegations that they have been improperly solicited or divulged proprietary or other confidential information. Changes in immigration laws, including changes to the rules regarding H1-B visas, may also harm our ability to attract personnel from other countries. Our inability to hire properly qualified and effective sales, support and engineering employees could harm our growth and our ability to effectively support growth.

If we do not increase the effectiveness of our sales organization, we may have difficulty adding new end-customers or increasing sales to our existing end-customers and our business may be adversely affected.

Although we have a channel sales model, sales in our industry are complex and members of our sales organization often engage in direct interaction with our prospective end-customers, particularly for larger deals involving larger end-customers. Therefore, we continue to be substantially dependent on our sales organization to obtain new end-customers and sell additional products and services to our existing end-customers. There is significant competition for sales personnel with the skills and technical knowledge that we require, including experienced enterprise sales employees and others. Our ability to grow our revenue depends, in large part, on our success in recruiting, training and retaining sufficient numbers of sales personnel to support our growth and on the effectiveness of those personnel in selling successfully in different contexts, each of which has its own different complexities, approaches and competitive landscapes, such as managing and growing the channel business for sales to small businesses and more actively selling to the end-customer for sales to larger organizations. New hires require substantial training and may take significant time before they achieve full productivity. Our recent hires and planned hires may not become productive as quickly as we expect, and we may be unable to hire or retain sufficient numbers of qualified individuals in the markets where we do business or plan to do business. Furthermore, hiring sales personnel in new countries requires additional setup and upfront costs that we may not recover if the sales personnel fail to achieve full productivity. If our sales employees do not become fully productive on the timelines that we have projected, our revenue will not increase at anticipated levels and our ability to achieve long-term projections may be negatively impacted. If we are unable to hire and train sufficient numbers of effective sales personnel, or the sales personnel are not successful in obtaining new end-customers or increasing sales to our existing customer base, our business, operating results and prospects will be adversely affected. If we do not hire properly qualified and effective sales employees and organize our sales team effectively to capture the opportunities in the various customer segments we are targeting, our growth and ability to effectively support growth would be harmed.

The sales prices of our products and services may decrease, which may reduce our gross profits and operating margin, and which may adversely impact our financial results and the trading price of our common stock.
 
The sales prices for our products and services may decline for a variety of reasons or our product mix may change, resulting in lower growth and margins based on a number of factors, including competitive pricing pressures, discounts or promotional programs we offer, a change in our mix of products and services and anticipation of the introduction of new products and services. Competition continues to increase in the market segments in which we participate, and we expect competition to further increase in the future, thereby leading to increased pricing pressures. Larger competitors with more diverse product offerings may reduce the price of products and services that compete with ours in order to promote the sale of other products or services or may bundle them with other products or services. Additionally, although we price our products and services worldwide in U.S. dollars, currency fluctuations in certain countries and regions have in the past, and may in the future, negatively impact actual prices that partners and customers are willing to pay in those countries and regions. Furthermore, we anticipate that the sales prices and gross profits for our products or services will decrease over product life

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cycles. We cannot ensure that we will be successful in developing and introducing new offerings with enhanced functionality on a timely basis, or that our product and service offerings, if introduced, will enable us to maintain our prices, gross profits and operating margin at levels that will allow us to maintain profitability.
 
If our internal enterprise IT networks, on which we conduct internal business and interface externally, our operational networks, through which we connect to customer systems and provide services, or our research and development networks, our back-end labs and cloud stacks through which we research and develop products and services, are compromised, public perception of our products and services may be harmed, our customers may be breached and harmed, we may become subject to liability, and our business, operating results and stock price may be adversely impacted.

Our success depends on the market’s confidence in our ability to provide effective network security protection. Despite our efforts and processes to prevent breaches of our internal network system and website, we are still vulnerable to computer viruses, break-ins, phishing attacks, attempts to overload our servers with denial-of-service and other cyber-attacks and similar disruptions from unauthorized access to our internal network system or our website. Our security measures may also be breached due to employee error, malfeasance or otherwise, which breaches may be more difficult to detect than outsider threats, and the existing programs and trainings we have in place to prevent such insider threats may not be effective or sufficient. Third parties may also attempt to fraudulently induce our employees to transfer funds or disclose information in order to gain access to our network and confidential information. Third parties may also send our customers or others malware or malicious emails that falsely indicate that we are the source, potentially causing lost confidence in us and reputational harm. We cannot guarantee that the measures we have taken to protect our network and website will provide adequate security. Moreover, because we provide network security products, we may be a more attractive target for attacks by computer hackers and any security breaches and other security incidents involving us may result in more harm to our reputation and brand than companies that do not sell network security solutions. Hackers and malicious parties may be able to develop and deploy viruses, worms, ransomware and other malicious software programs that attack our products and customers, that impersonate our update servers in an effort to access customer networks and negatively impact customers, or otherwise exploit any security vulnerabilities of our products, or attempt to fraudulently induce our employees, customers or others to disclose passwords or other sensitive information or unwittingly provide access to our internal network system or data. For example, as we previously announced, in the second quarter of 2019 we discovered that an unauthorized party targeted us using sophisticated techniques, such as efforts to impersonate our firewall update servers, in order to try to gain access to certain of our customers’ systems. Although, based on our investigation of this incident, we do not believe that it had a material impact on our or our customers’ businesses, and in general we take numerous measures and implement multiple layers of security to protect our network and our customers’ networks, and, in this particular case, we took immediate additional action to protect our customers, we cannot guarantee that our security products and services will prevent all threats. Further, we cannot be sure that third parties have not been, or will not in the future be, successful in improperly accessing our system and our customers’ systems, which could negatively impact us and our customers. An actual or perceived breach, or any other actual or perceived data security incident, that involves our network, systems or website and/or our customers’ network, systems or websites, including the specific matter that is discussed above, could adversely affect the market perception of our products and services and investor confidence in our company. Any breach of our network system or website could impair our ability to operate our business, including our ability to provide FortiGuard security subscription and FortiCare technical support services to our end-customers, lead to interruptions or system slowdowns, cause loss of critical data or lead to the unauthorized disclosure or use of confidential, proprietary or sensitive information. We could also be subject to liability and litigation and reputational harm and our channel partners and end-customers may be harmed, lose confidence in us and decrease or cease using our products and services. Any breach of our internal network system or our website could have an adverse effect on our business, operating results and stock price.

Reliance on a concentration of shipments at the end of the quarter could cause our billings and revenue to fall below expected levels.
 
As a result of customer-buying patterns and the efforts of our sales force and channel partners to meet or exceed quarterly quotas, we have historically received a substantial portion of each quarter’s sales orders and generated a substantial portion of each quarter’s billings and revenue during the last two weeks of the quarter. We implemented a cloud-based quoting tool to help provide our sales team with the ability to have faster quote generation, reduce quote errors and increase sales productivity. Our ability to integrate the data from this tool into our order processing may cause order processing delays that could have an effect on our financial results. Our billings and revenue for any quarter could fall below our expectations or those of securities analysts and investors, resulting in a decline in our stock price, if expected orders at the end of any quarter are delayed for any reason or our ability to fulfill orders at the end of any quarter is hindered for any reason, including, among others:

the failure of anticipated purchase orders to materialize;

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our logistics partners’ inability to ship products prior to quarter-end to fulfill purchase orders received near the end of the quarter;

disruption in manufacturing or shipping based on natural disasters or widespread public health problems including pandemics and epidemics such as the coronavirus outbreak;

our failure to accurately forecast our inventory requirements and to appropriately manage inventory to meet demand;

our inability to release new products on schedule;

any failure of our systems related to order review and processing; and

any delays in shipments due to trade compliance requirements, labor disputes or logistics changes at shipping ports, airline strikes, severe weather or otherwise.

Unless we continue to develop better market awareness of our company and our products, and to improve lead generation and sales enablement, our revenue may not continue to grow.

Increased market awareness of our capabilities and products and increased lead generation are essential to our continued growth and our success in all of our markets, particularly for the large businesses, service provider and government organization market. We have historically had relatively low spending on marketing activities. While we have increased our investments in sales and marketing, it is not clear that these investments will continue to result in increased revenue. If our investments in additional sales personnel or our marketing programs are not successful in continuing to create market awareness of our company and products or increasing lead generation, or if we experience turnover and disruption in our sales and marketing teams, we will not be able to achieve sustained growth, and our business, financial condition and results of operations will be adversely affected.

We rely on third-party channel partners for substantially all of our revenue. If our partners fail to perform, our ability to sell our products and services will be limited, and if we fail to optimize our channel partner model going forward, our operating results may be harmed. Additionally, a small number of distributors represents a large percentage of our revenue and gross accounts receivable, and one distributor accounted for 36% of our total net accounts receivable as of December 31, 2019.
 
A significant portion of our sales is generated through a limited number of distributors, and substantially all of our revenue is from sales by our channel partners, including distributors and resellers. We depend on our channel partners to generate a significant portion of our sales opportunities and to manage our sales process. To the extent our channel partners are unsuccessful in selling our products, or if we are unable to enter into arrangements with and retain a sufficient number of high-quality channel partners in each of the regions in which we sell products, we are unable to keep them motivated to sell our products, or our channel partners shift focus to other vendors and/or our competitors, our ability to sell our products and operating results may be harmed. The termination of our relationship with any significant channel partner may adversely impact our sales and operating results. 

We provide sales channel partners with specific programs to assist them with selling our products and incentivize them to sell our products, but there can be no assurance that these programs will be effective. In addition, our channel partners may be unsuccessful in marketing, selling and supporting our products and services and may purchase more inventory than they can sell. Our channel partners generally do not have minimum purchase requirements. Some of our channel partners may have insufficient financial resources to withstand changes and challenges in business conditions. Moreover, many of our channel partners are privately held, including our largest distributor Exclusive Networks, and we may not have sufficient information to assess their financial condition. If our channel partners’ financial condition or operations weaken, their ability to sell our product and services could be negatively impacted. Our channel partners may also market, sell and support products and services that are competitive with ours, and may devote more resources to the marketing, sales and support of such products, or may decide to cease selling our products and services altogether in favor of a competitor’s products and services. They may also have incentives to promote our competitors’ products to the detriment of our own, or they may cease selling our products altogether. We cannot ensure that we will retain these channel partners or that we will be able to secure additional or replacement partners or that existing channel partners will continue to perform. The loss of one or more of our significant channel partners or the failure to obtain and ship a number of large orders each quarter through them could harm our operating results.


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In addition, a small number of channel partners represents a large percentage of our revenue and gross accounts receivable. We are exposed to the credit and liquidity risk of some of our channel partners and to credit exposure in weakened markets, which could result in material losses. Our dependence on a limited number of key channel partners means that our billings, revenue and operating results may be harmed by the inability of these key channel partners to successfully sell our products and services, or if any of these key channel partners is unable or unwilling to pay us, terminates its relationship with us or goes out of business. Although we have programs in place that are designed to monitor and mitigate credit and liquidity risks, we cannot guarantee these programs will be effective in reducing our credit risks. If we are unable to adequately control these risks, our business, operating results, and financial condition could be harmed. If channel partners fail to pay us under the terms of our agreements or we are otherwise unable to collect on our accounts receivable from these channel partners, we may be adversely affected both from the inability to collect amounts due and the cost of enforcing the terms of our contracts, including litigation. Our channel partners may seek bankruptcy protection or other similar relief and fail to pay amounts due to us, or pay those amounts more slowly, either of which could adversely affect our operating results, financial position, and cash flow. We may be further impacted by consolidation of our existing channel partners. In such instances, we may experience changes to our overall business and operational relationships due to dealing with a larger combined entity, and our ability to maintain such relationships on favorable contractual terms may be more limited. We may also become increasingly dependent on a more limited number of channel partners, as consolidation increases the relative proportion of our business for which each channel partner is responsible, which may magnify the risks described in the preceding paragraphs.

For example, in July 2017, Exclusive, which distributes our solutions to a large group of resellers and end-customers, acquired Fine Tec U.S. Since the acquisition of Fine Tec U.S., Exclusive’s business with us has increased and may continue to increase in the future.

Exclusive accounted for 36% and 38% of our total net accounts receivable as of December 31, 2019 and December 31, 2018, respectively. During 2017, 2018 and 2019, Exclusive accounted for 25%, 30% and 31% of our total revenue, respectively. In addition to other risks associated with the concentration of accounts receivable and revenue from these distributors, Exclusive is a private entity and we may not have sufficient information to assess its financial condition and, accordingly, if Exclusive were to experience financial difficulties, we might not have advance notice. Additionally, Exclusive may face liquidity risk as a private equity-backed company, which may harm our ability to collect on our accounts receivable.

In addition, any new sales channel partner will require extensive training and may take several months or more to achieve productivity. Our channel partner sales structure could subject us to lawsuits, potential liability and reputational harm if, for example, any of our channel partners misrepresent the functionality of our products or services to end-customers or our channel partners violate laws or our corporate policies. We depend on our global channel partners to comply with applicable legal and regulatory requirements. To the extent that they fail to do so, that could have a material adverse effect on our business, operating results and financial condition. If we fail to optimize our channel partner model or fail to manage existing sales channels, our business will be seriously harmed.

Actual, possible or perceived defects or vulnerabilities in our products or services, the failure of our products or services to detect or prevent a security breach or the misuse of our products could harm our reputation and divert resources.

Because our products and services are complex, they have contained and may contain defects or errors that are not detected until after their commercial release and deployment by our customers. Defects or vulnerabilities may impede or block network traffic, cause our products or services to be vulnerable to electronic break-ins, cause them to fail to help secure our customers or cause our products or services to allow unauthorized access to our customers’ networks. We are also susceptible to errors, defects, vulnerabilities or attacks that may arise at, or be inserted into our products in, different stages in our supply chain, or manufacturing processes, and which are out of our control. Attacks may target specific unidentified or unresolved vulnerabilities that exist or arrive only in the supply chain, making these attacks virtually impossible to anticipate and difficult to defend against. Different customers deploy and use our products in different ways, and certain deployments and usages may subject our products to adverse conditions that may negatively impact the effectiveness and useful lifetime of our products. Our networks and products, including cloud-based technology, could be targeted by attacks specifically designed to disrupt our business and harm our reputation. We cannot ensure that our products will prevent all security threats. Because the techniques used by computer hackers to access or sabotage networks change frequently and generally are not recognized until launched against a target, we may be unable to anticipate these techniques. In addition, defects or errors in our FortiGuard security subscription or FortiCare updates or our FortiGate appliances and operating systems could result in a failure of our FortiGuard security subscription services to effectively update end-customers’ FortiGate appliances and cloud-based products and thereby leave customers vulnerable to attacks. Furthermore, our solutions may also fail to detect or prevent viruses, worms or similar threats due to a number of reasons such as the evolving nature of such threats and the continual emergence of new threats that we may fail to add to our FortiGuard databases in time to protect our end-customers’ networks. Our FortiGuard or FortiCare data centers and networks may also experience technical failures and downtime, and may fail to distribute appropriate updates,

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or fail to meet the increased requirements of our customer base. Any such technical failure, downtime or failures in general may temporarily or permanently expose our end-customers’ networks, leaving their networks unprotected against the latest security threats.
 
An actual, possible or perceived security breach or infection of the network of one of our end-customers, regardless of whether the breach is attributable to the failure of our products or services to prevent the security breach, could adversely affect the market’s perception of our security products and services and, in some instances, subject us to potential liability that is not contractually limited. We may not be able to correct any security flaws or vulnerabilities promptly, or at all. Our products may also be misused by end-customers or third parties who obtain access to our products. For example, our products could be used to censor private access to certain information on the internet. Such use of our products for censorship could result in negative press coverage and negatively affect our reputation, even if we take reasonable measures to prevent any improper shipment of our products or if our products are provided by an unauthorized third party. Any actual, possible or perceived defects, errors or vulnerabilities in our products, or misuse of our products, could result in:
 
the expenditure of significant financial and product development resources in efforts to analyze, correct, eliminate or work around errors or defects or to address and eliminate vulnerabilities;
 
the loss of existing or potential end-customers or channel partners;
 
delayed or lost revenue;
 
delay or failure to attain market acceptance;
 
negative publicity and harm to our reputation; and
 
litigation, regulatory inquiries or investigations that may be costly and harm our reputation and, in some instances, subject us to potential liability that is not contractually limited.
 
If we do not appropriately manage any future growth, including through the expansion of our real estate facilities, or are unable to improve our systems, processes and controls, our operating results will be negatively affected.
 
We rely heavily on information technology to help manage critical functions such as order configuration, pricing and quoting, revenue recognition, financial forecasts, inventory and supply chain management and trade compliance reviews. In addition, we have been slow to adopt and implement certain automated functions, which could have a negative impact on our business. For example, a large part of our order processing relies on manual data entry of customer purchase orders received through email and, to a lesser extent, through electronic data interchange from our customers. Due to the use of manual processes and the fact that we may receive a large amount of our orders in the last few weeks of any given quarter, an interruption in our email service or other systems could result in delayed order fulfillment and decreased billings and revenue for that quarter.

To manage any future growth effectively, we must continue to improve and expand our information technology and financial, operating, security and administrative systems and controls, and our business continuity and disaster recovery plans and processes. We must also continue to manage headcount, capital and processes in an efficient manner. We may not be able to successfully implement requisite improvements to these systems, controls and processes, such as system capacity, access, security and change management controls, in a timely or efficient manner. Our failure to improve our systems and processes, or their failure to operate in the intended manner, whether as a result of the significant growth of our business or otherwise, may result in our inability to manage the growth of our business and to accurately forecast our revenue, expenses and earnings, or to prevent certain losses. Moreover, the failure of our systems and processes could undermine our ability to provide accurate, timely and reliable reports on our financial and operating results and could impact the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting.

In addition, our systems, processes and controls may not prevent or detect all errors, omissions, malfeasance or fraud, such as corruption and improper “side agreements” that may impact revenue recognition or result in financial liability. Our productivity and the quality of our products and services may also be adversely affected if we do not integrate and train our new employees quickly and effectively. Any future growth would add complexity to our organization and require effective coordination throughout our organization. Failure to ensure appropriate systems, processes and controls and to manage any future growth effectively could result in increased costs and harm our reputation and results of operations.


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We have expanded our office real estate holdings to meet our projected growing need for office space. We have started construction on a second building adjacent to our headquarters as we expand our campus in Sunnyvale, California. These plans will require significant capital expenditure over the next several years and involve certain risks, including impairment charges and acceleration of depreciation, changes in future business strategy that may decrease the need for expansion (such as a decrease in headcount) and risks related to construction. Future changes in growth or fluctuations in cash flow may also negatively impact our ability to pay for these projects or free cash flow. Additionally, inaccuracies in our projected capital expenditures could negatively impact our business, operating results and financial condition.
 
We may experience difficulties maintaining and expanding our internal business management systems.
 
The maintenance of our internal business management systems, such as our Enterprise Resource Planning (“ERP”) and Customer Relationship Management (“CRM”) systems, has required, and will continue to require, the investment of significant financial and human resources. In addition, we may choose to upgrade or expand the functionality of our internal systems, leading to additional costs. We may also discover deficiencies in our design or maintenance of our internal systems that could adversely affect our ability to forecast orders, process orders, ship products, provide services and customer support, send invoices and track payments, fulfill contractual obligations, accurately maintain books and records, provide accurate, timely and reliable reports on our financial and operating results or otherwise operate our business. Additionally, if any of our internal systems does not operate as intended, the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting could be adversely affected or our ability to assess it adequately could be delayed. Further, we may expand the scope of our ERP and CRM systems. Our operating results may be adversely affected if these upgrades or expansions are delayed or if the systems do not function as intended or are not sufficient to meet our operating requirements.

If our estimates or judgments relating to our critical accounting policies are based on assumptions that change or prove to be incorrect, our operating results could fall below expectations of securities analysts and investors, resulting in a decline in our stock price.
 
The preparation of financial statements in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the amounts reported in the consolidated financial statements and accompanying notes. We base our estimates on historical experience and on various other assumptions that we believe to be reasonable under the circumstances, as provided in “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates” in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, the results of which form the basis for making judgments about the carrying values of assets and liabilities that are not readily apparent from other sources. Our operating results may be adversely affected if our assumptions change or if actual circumstances differ from those in our assumptions, which could cause our operating results to fall below the expectations of securities analysts and investors, resulting in a decline in our stock price. Significant assumptions and estimates used in preparing our consolidated financial statements include those related to revenue recognition, deferred contract costs and commission expense, valuation of inventory, accounting for business combination, contingent liabilities and accounting for income taxes.

We offer retroactive price protection to certain of our major distributors, and if we fail to balance their inventory with end-customer demand for our products, our allowance for price protection may be inadequate, which could adversely affect our results of operations.

We provide certain of our major distributors with price protection rights for inventories of our products held by them. If we reduce the list price of our products, certain distributors receive refunds or credits from us that reduce the price of such products held in their inventory based upon the new list price. Future credits for price protection will depend on the percentage of our price reductions for the products in inventory and our ability to manage the levels of our major distributors’ inventories. If future price protection adjustments are higher than expected, our future results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.
 
Because we depend on several third-party manufacturers to build our products, we are susceptible to manufacturing delays that could prevent us from shipping customer orders on time, if at all, and may result in the loss of sales and customers, and third-party manufacturing cost increases could result in lower gross margins and free cash flow.

We outsource the manufacturing of our security appliance products to contract manufacturing partners and original design manufacturing partners, including manufacturers with facilities located in Taiwan, China and other countries outside the United States such as Micro-Star, Wistron, Senao, ADLINK and IBASE. Our reliance on our third-party manufacturers in Asia and elsewhere reduces our control over the manufacturing process, exposing us to risks, including reduced control over quality assurance, costs, supply and timing and possible tariffs. Any manufacturing disruption related to our third-party manufacturers or their component suppliers for any reason, including natural disasters and health emergencies such as earthquakes, fires,

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power outages, typhoons, floods, health pandemics and epidemics such as the coronavirus and manmade events such as civil unrest, labor disruption, international trade disputes, international conflicts, terrorism, wars and critical infrastructure attacks, could impair our ability to fulfill orders. If we are unable to manage our relationships with these third-party manufacturers effectively, or if these third-party manufacturers experience delays, increased manufacturing lead-times, disruptions, capacity constraints or quality control problems in their manufacturing operations, or fail to meet our future requirements for timely delivery, our ability to ship products to our customers could be impaired and our business would be seriously harmed.
 
These manufacturers fulfill our supply requirements on the basis of individual purchase orders. We have no long-term contracts or arrangements with our third-party manufacturers that guarantee capacity, the continuation of particular payment terms or the extension of credit limits. Accordingly, they are not obligated to continue to fulfill our supply requirements, and the prices we are charged for manufacturing services could be increased on short notice. If we are required to change third-party manufacturers, our ability to meet our scheduled product deliveries to our customers would be adversely affected, which could cause the loss of sales and existing or potential customers, delayed revenue or an increase in our costs, which could adversely affect our gross margins. Our individual product lines are generally manufactured by only one manufacturing partner. Any production or shipping interruptions for any reason, such as a natural disaster, epidemic, capacity shortages, quality problems or strike or other labor disruption at one of our manufacturing partners or locations or at shipping ports or locations, would severely affect sales of our product lines manufactured by that manufacturing partner. Furthermore, manufacturing cost increases for any reason could result in lower gross margins.
 
Our proprietary SPUs, which are key to the performance of our appliances, are built by contract manufacturers including Renesas and Toshiba. These contract manufacturers use foundries operated by TSMC or Renesas on a purchase-order basis, and these foundries do not guarantee their capacity and could delay orders or increase their pricing. Accordingly, the foundries are not obligated to continue to fulfill our supply requirements, and due to the long lead time that a new foundry would require, we could suffer inventory shortages of our SPU as well as increased costs. In addition to our proprietary SPU, we also purchase off-the-shelf ASICs or integrated circuits from vendors for which we have experienced, and may continue to experience, long lead times. Our suppliers may also prioritize orders by other companies that order higher volumes or more profitable products. If any of these manufacturers materially delays its supply of ASICs or specific product models to us, or requires us to find an alternate supplier and we are not able to do so on a timely and reasonable basis, or if these foundries materially increase their prices for fabrication of our ASICs, our business would be harmed.

In addition, our reliance on third-party manufacturers and foundries limits our control over environmental regulatory requirements such as the hazardous substance content of our products and therefore our ability to ensure compliance with the Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive (the “EU RoHS”) adopted in the European Union (the “EU”) and other similar laws. It also exposes us to the risk that certain minerals and metals, known as “conflict minerals,” that are contained in our products have originated in the Democratic Republic of the Congo or an adjoining country. As a result of the passage of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (“Dodd-Frank”), the SEC adopted disclosure requirements for public companies whose products contain conflict minerals that are necessary to the functionality or production of such products. Under these rules, we are required to obtain sourcing data from suppliers, perform supply chain due diligence, and file annually with the SEC a specialized disclosure report on Form SD covering the prior calendar year. We have incurred and expect to incur additional costs to comply with the rules, including costs related to efforts to determine the origin, source and chain of custody of the conflict minerals used in our products and the adoption of conflict minerals-related governance policies, processes and controls. Moreover, the implementation of these compliance measures could adversely affect the sourcing, availability and pricing of materials used in the manufacture of our products to the extent that there may be only a limited number of suppliers that are able to meet our sourcing requirements, which would make it more difficult to obtain such materials in sufficient quantities or at competitive prices. We may also encounter customers who require that all of the components of our products be certified as conflict-free. If we are not able to meet customer requirements, such customers may choose to not purchase our products, which could impact our sales and the value of portions of our inventory.

Because some of the key components in our products come from limited sources of supply, we are susceptible to supply shortages, long lead times for components, and supply changes, each of which could disrupt or delay our scheduled product deliveries to our customers, result in inventory shortage, cause loss of sales and customers or increase component costs resulting in lower gross margins and free cash flow.

We and our contract manufacturers currently purchase several key parts and components used in the manufacture of our products from limited sources of supply. We are therefore subject to the risk of shortages and long lead times in the supply of these components and the risk that component suppliers may discontinue or modify components used in our products. We have in the past experienced, and are currently experiencing, shortages and long lead times for certain components. Our limited source components for particular appliances and suppliers of those components include specific types of CPUs from Intel, network chips from Broadcom, Marvell and Intel, and memory devices from Intel, ADATA, Toshiba, Samsung and Western

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Digital. We also may face shortages in the supply of the capacitors and resistors that are used in the manufacturing of our products. The introduction by component suppliers of new versions of their products, particularly if not anticipated by us or our contract manufacturers, could require us to expend significant resources to incorporate these new components into our products. In addition, if these suppliers were to discontinue production of a necessary part or component, we would be required to expend significant resources and time in locating and integrating replacement parts or components from another vendor. Qualifying additional suppliers for limited source parts or components can be time-consuming and expensive.

Our manufacturing partners have experienced long lead times for the purchase of components incorporated into our products. Lead times for components may be adversely impacted by factors outside of our control such as natural disasters and health emergencies such as earthquakes, fires, power outages, typhoons, floods, health pandemics and epidemics such as the coronavirus, and manmade events such as civil unrest, labor disruption, international trade disputes, international conflicts, terrorism, wars, critical infrastructure attacks and other factors. Our reliance on a limited number of suppliers involves several additional risks, including:

a potential inability to obtain an adequate supply of required parts or components when required;

financial or other difficulties faced by our suppliers;
 
infringement or misappropriation of our intellectual property;
 
price increases;
 
failure of a component to meet environmental or other regulatory requirements;
 
failure to meet delivery obligations in a timely fashion;
 
failure in component quality; and

inability to ship products on a timely basis.
 
The occurrence of any of these events would be disruptive to us and could seriously harm our business. Any interruption or delay in the supply of any of these parts or components, or the inability to obtain these parts or components from alternate sources at acceptable prices and within a reasonable amount of time, would harm our ability to meet our scheduled product deliveries to our distributors, resellers and end-customers. This could harm our relationships with our channel partners and end-customers and could cause delays in shipment of our products and adversely affect our results of operations. In addition, increased component costs could result in lower gross margins.

We are exposed to fluctuations in currency exchange rates, which could negatively affect our financial condition and results of operations.

A significant portion of our operating expenses are incurred outside the United States. These expenses are denominated in foreign currencies and are subject to fluctuations due to changes in foreign currency exchange rates, particularly changes in the Euro, Brazilian real, Canadian dollar and British pound. Additionally, fluctuations in the exchange rate of the Canadian dollar may negatively impact our development plans in Burnaby, Canada. While we are not currently engaged in material hedging activities, we have been hedging currency exposures relating to certain balance sheet accounts through the use of forward exchange contracts. If we stop hedging against any of these risks or if our attempts to hedge against these currency exposures are not successful, our financial condition and results of operations could be adversely affected. Our sales contracts are primarily denominated in U.S. dollars and therefore, while substantially all of our revenue is not subject to foreign currency risk, it does not serve as a hedge to our foreign currency-denominated operating expenses. In addition, a strengthening of the U.S. dollar may increase the real cost of our products to our customers outside of the United States, which may also adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations. 

Failure to comply with laws and regulations applicable to our business could subject us to fines and penalties and could also cause us to lose end-customers in the public sector or negatively impact our ability to contract with the public sector.

Our business is subject to regulation by various federal, state, regional, local and foreign governmental agencies, including agencies responsible for monitoring and enforcing employment and labor laws, workplace safety, product safety, product labeling, environmental laws, consumer protection laws, anti-bribery laws, data privacy laws, import and export controls, federal securities laws and tax laws and regulations. In certain jurisdictions, these regulatory requirements may be

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more stringent than in the United States. Non-compliance with applicable regulations or requirements could subject us to investigations, sanctions, enforcement actions, disgorgement of profits, fines, damages and civil and criminal penalties or injunctions. If any governmental sanctions are imposed, or if we do not prevail in any possible civil or criminal litigation, our business, operating results and financial condition could be adversely affected. In addition, responding to any action will likely result in a significant diversion of management’s attention and resources and an increase in professional fees. Enforcement actions and sanctions could harm our business, operating results and financial condition.

For example, the GDPR, which became effective in May 2018 and superseded current EU data protection regulations, imposes stringent data handling requirements on companies that receive or process personal data of residents of the EU. Non-compliance with the GDPR could result in significant penalties, including data protection audits and heavy fines. Compliance with, and the other burdens imposed by, the GDPR may limit our ability to operate or expand our business in Europe and could adversely impact our operating results, as could delays or shortcomings in the implementation of our GDPR compliance program.

Additionally, we may be subject to other legal regimes throughout the world governing data handling, protection and privacy. For example, in June 2018, California passed the California Consumer Privacy Act (the “CCPA”), which provides new data privacy rights for consumers and new operational requirements for companies and became effective on January 1, 2020. Fines for non-compliance may be up to $7,500 per violation. The costs of compliance with, and other burdens imposed by, the GDPR and CCPA may limit the use and adoption of our products and services and could have an adverse impact on our business.

Selling our solutions to the U.S. government, whether directly or through channel partners, also subjects us to certain regulatory and contractual requirements and risks. Failure to comply with these requirements by either us or our channel partners could subject us to investigations, fines, suspension or debarment from doing business with the U.S. government or one of its divisions, and other penalties and damages, which could have an adverse effect on our business, operating results, financial condition and prospects. As an example, the U.S. Department of Justice (the “DOJ”) has in the past pursued claims against, and obtained monetary settlements or damages from, companies, including us, under the False Claims Act and other statutes related to pricing, discount practices and compliance with laws related to sales to the federal government, such as the Trade Agreements Act (the “TAA”). The DOJ continues to actively pursue such claims. Any violations of regulatory and contractual requirements could result in us being suspended or debarred from future government contracting. Any of these outcomes could have an adverse effect on our revenue, operating results, financial condition and prospects.

These laws and regulations impose added costs on our business, and failure to comply with these or other applicable regulations and requirements, including non-compliance in the past, could lead to claims for damages from our channel partners, penalties, termination of contracts, loss of exclusive rights in our intellectual property and temporary suspension or permanent debarment from government contracting. Any such damages, penalties, disruptions or limitations in our ability to do business with the public sector could have an adverse effect on our business and operating results.

Global economic uncertainty and weakening product demand caused by political instability and conflict could adversely affect our business and financial performance.

Economic uncertainty in various global markets caused by political instability and conflict has resulted, and may continue to result, in weakened demand for our products and services and difficulty in forecasting our financial results and managing inventory levels. Political developments impacting government spending and international trade, including potential government shutdowns and election year instability in the United States, continued uncertainty surrounding the United Kingdom’s departure from the EU and trade disputes and tariffs, may negatively impact markets and cause weaker macro-economic conditions. The effects of these events may continue due to potential additional U.S. government shutdowns and developments resulting from the 2020 presidential election, instability in the United Kingdom and the EU as negotiations for the terms of Brexit continue, with the ultimate outcome still uncertain, and the United States’ ongoing trade disputes with China and other countries. The continuing effect of any or all of these events could adversely impact demand for our products, harm our operations and weaken our financial results.

We are subject to governmental export and import controls that could subject us to liability or restrictions on sales, and that could impair our ability to compete in international markets.

Because we incorporate encryption technology into our products, certain of our products are subject to U.S. export controls and may be exported outside the United States only with the required export license or through an export license exception, or may be prohibited altogether from export to certain countries. If we were to fail to comply with U.S. export laws, U.S. Customs regulations and import regulations, U.S. economic sanctions and other countries’ import and export laws, we

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could be subject to substantial civil and criminal penalties, including fines for the company and incarceration for responsible employees and managers, and the possible loss of export or import privileges. In addition, if our channel partners fail to obtain appropriate import, export or re-export licenses or permits (e.g. for stocking orders placed by our partners), we may also be adversely affected through reputational harm and penalties and we may not be able to provide support related to appliances shipped pursuant to such orders. Obtaining the necessary export license for a particular sale may be time-consuming and may result in the delay or loss of sales opportunities.

Furthermore, U.S. export control laws and economic sanctions prohibit the shipment of certain products to U.S. embargoed or sanctioned countries, governments and persons. Even though we take precautions to prevent our product from being shipped to U.S. sanctions targets, our products could be shipped to those targets by our channel partners, despite such precautions. Any such shipment could have negative consequences including government investigations and penalties and reputational harm. In addition, various countries regulate the import of certain encryption technology, including import permitting and licensing requirements, and have enacted laws that could limit our ability to distribute our products or could limit our customers’ ability to implement our products in those countries. Changes in our products or changes in export and import regulations may create delays in the introduction of our products in international markets, prevent our customers with international operations from deploying our products globally or, in some cases, prevent the export or import of our products to certain countries, governments or persons altogether. Any change in export or import regulations, economic sanctions or related legislation, shift in the enforcement or scope of existing regulations, or change in the countries, governments, persons or technologies targeted by such regulations, could result in decreased use of our products by, or in our decreased ability to export or sell our products to, existing or potential customers with international operations. Any decreased use of our products or limitation on our ability to export or sell our products would likely adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Efforts to withdraw from or materially modify international trade agreements, to change tax provisions related to global manufacturing and sales or to impose new tariffs, economic sanctions or related legislation, any of which could adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.

Our business benefits directly and indirectly from free trade agreements, and we also rely on various U.S. corporate tax provisions related to international commerce, as we develop, market and sell our products and services globally. Efforts to withdraw from or materially modify international trade agreements, or to change corporate tax policy related to international commerce, could adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations as could the continuing uncertainty regarding whether such actions will be taken.

Moreover, efforts to implement changes related to export or import regulations (including the imposition of new border taxes or tariffs on foreign imports), trade barriers, economic sanctions and other related policies could harm our results of operations. For example, during 2018 and 2019 the United States imposed additional import tariffs on certain goods from different countries and on most of Chinese imported goods. As a result, China and other countries imposed retaliatory tariffs on goods exported from the United States and both the United States and foreign countries have threatened to alter or leave current trade agreements. While we do not currently expect these tariffs to have a significant effect on our raw material and product import costs, if the United States expands increased tariffs, or retaliatory trade measures are taken by China or other countries in response to the tariffs, the cost of our products could increase, our operations could be disrupted or we could be required to raise our prices, which may result in the loss of customers and harm to our reputation and operating performance.

Any modification in these areas, any shift in the enforcement or scope of existing regulations or any change in the countries, governments, persons or technologies targeted by such regulations, could result in decreased use of our products by, or in our decreased ability to export or sell our products to, existing or potential end-customers with international operations and could result in increased costs. Any decreased use of our products or limitation on our ability to export or sell our products would likely adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

If we fail to comply with environmental requirements, our business, financial condition, operating results and reputation could be adversely affected.

We are subject to various environmental laws and regulations, including laws governing the hazardous material content of our products, laws relating to our real property and future expansion plans and laws concerning the recycling of electrical and electronic equipment. The laws and regulations to which we are subject include the EU RoHS Directive, EU Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals and the EU Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (the “WEEE Directive”), as well as the implementing legislation of the EU member states. Similar laws and regulations have been passed or are pending in China, South Korea, Norway and Japan and may be enacted in other regions, including in the United States, and we are, or may in the future be, subject to these laws and regulations.

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The EU RoHS Directive and the similar laws of other jurisdictions ban or restrict the presence of certain hazardous substances such as lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium and certain fire-retardant plastic additives in electrical equipment, including our products. We have incurred costs to comply with these laws, including research and development costs, costs associated with assuring the supply of compliant components and costs associated with writing off scrapped noncompliant inventory. We expect to continue to incur costs related to environmental laws and regulations in the future. With respect to the EU RoHS, we and our competitors rely on exemptions for lead and other substances in network infrastructure equipment. It is possible one or more of these use exemptions will be revoked in the future. Additionally, although some of the EU RoHS exemptions have been extended, it is possible that some of these exemptions may expire in the future without being extended. If this exemption is revoked or expires without extension, if there are other changes to these laws (or their interpretation) or if new similar laws are passed in other jurisdictions, we may be required to re-engineer our products to use components compatible with these regulations. This re-engineering and component substitution could result in additional costs to us and/or disrupt our operations or logistics.
 
The EU has also adopted the WEEE Directive, which requires electronic goods producers to be responsible for the collection, recycling and treatment of such products. Although currently our EU international channel partners are responsible for the requirements of this directive as the importer of record in most of the European countries in which we sell our products, changes in interpretation of the regulations may cause us to incur costs or have additional regulatory requirements in the future to meet in order to comply with this directive, or with any similar laws adopted in other jurisdictions.

Our failure to comply with these and future environmental rules and regulations could result in reduced sales of our products, increased costs, substantial product inventory write-offs, reputational damage, penalties and other sanctions.

A portion of our revenue is generated by sales to government organizations, which are subject to a number of challenges and risks.

Sales to U.S. and foreign federal, state and local governmental agency end-customers have accounted for a portion of our revenue in past periods, and we may in the future increase sales to government organizations. Sales to government organizations are subject to a number of risks. Selling to government organizations can be highly competitive, expensive and time consuming, often requiring significant upfront time and expense, with long sales cycles and without any assurance of winning a sale.

Government demand, sales and payment for our products and services may be negatively impacted by numerous factors and requirements unique to selling to government agencies, such as:

public sector budgetary cycles;

funding authorizations and requirements unique to government agencies, with funding or purchasing reductions or delays adversely affecting public sector demand for our products;

geopolitical matters, including tariff and trade disputes, Brexit and government shutdowns; and

rules and regulations applicable to certain government sales, including GSA regulations.

The rules and regulations applicable to sales to government organizations may also negatively impact sales to other organizations. To date, we have had limited traction in sales to U.S. federal government agencies, and any future sales to government organizations is uncertain. Government organizations may have contractual or other legal rights to terminate contracts with our distributors and resellers for convenience or due to a default, and any such termination may adversely impact our future results of operations. For example, if the distributor receives a significant portion of its revenue from sales to such government organization, the financial health of the distributor could be substantially harmed, which could negatively affect our future sales to such distributor. Governments routinely investigate, review and audit government vendors’ administrative and other processes, and any unfavorable investigation, audit or other review could result in the government’s refusing to continue buying our products and services, a reduction of revenue or fines, or civil or criminal liability if the investigation, audit or other review uncovers improper, illegal or otherwise concerning activities. Any such penalties could adversely impact our results of operations in a material way. Finally, purchases by the U.S. government may require certain products to be manufactured in the United States and other high cost manufacturing locations, and we may not manufacture all products in locations that meet the requirements of the U.S. government.


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False detection of vulnerabilities, viruses or security breaches or false identification of spam or spyware could adversely affect our business.

Our FortiGuard security subscription services may falsely detect, report and act on viruses or other threats that do not actually exist. This risk is heightened by the inclusion of a “heuristics” feature in our products, which attempts to identify viruses and other threats not based on any known signatures but based on characteristics or anomalies that may indicate that a particular item is a threat. When our end-customers enable the heuristics feature in our products, the risk of falsely identifying viruses and other threats significantly increases. These false positives, while typical in the industry, may impair the perceived reliability of our products and may therefore adversely impact market acceptance of our products. Also, our FortiGuard security subscription services may falsely identify emails or programs as unwanted spam or potentially unwanted programs, or alternatively fail to properly identify unwanted emails or programs, particularly as spam emails or spyware are often designed to circumvent anti-spam or spyware products. Parties whose emails or programs are blocked by our products may seek redress against us for labeling them as spammers or spyware, or for interfering with their business. In addition, false identification of emails or programs as unwanted spam or potentially unwanted programs may reduce the adoption of our products. If our system restricts important files or applications based on falsely identifying them as malware or some other item that should be restricted, this could adversely affect end-customers’ systems and cause material system failures. In addition, our threat researchers periodically identify vulnerabilities in various third-party products, and, if these identifications are perceived to be incorrect or are in fact incorrect, this could harm our business. Any such false identification or perceived false identification of important files, applications or vulnerabilities could result in negative publicity, loss of end-customers and sales, increased costs to remedy any problem and costly litigation.

Our ability to sell our products is dependent on the quality of our technical support services, and our failure to offer high-quality technical support services would have a material adverse effect on our sales and results of operations.

Once our products are deployed within our end-customers’ networks, our end-customers depend on our technical support services, as well as the support of our channel partners and other third parties, to resolve any issues relating to our products. If we, our channel partners or other third parties do not effectively assist our customers in planning, deploying and operational proficiency for our products, succeed in helping our customers quickly resolve post-deployment issues and provide effective ongoing support, our ability to sell additional products and services to existing customers would be adversely affected and our reputation with potential customers could be damaged. Many large end-customers, and service provider or government organization end-customers, require higher levels of support than smaller end-customers because of their more complex deployments and more demanding environments and business models. If we, our channel partners or other third parties fail to meet the requirements of our larger end-customers, it may be more difficult to execute on our strategy to increase our penetration with large businesses, service providers and government organizations. Our failure to maintain high-quality support services would have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations and may subject us to litigation, reputational damage, loss of customers and additional costs.

We could be subject to changes in our tax rates, the adoption of new U.S. or international tax legislation or exposure to additional tax liabilities.

We are subject to taxes in the United States and numerous foreign jurisdictions, where a number of our subsidiaries are organized. Our provision for income taxes is subject to volatility and could be adversely affected by several factors, many of which are outside of our control. These include:

the mix of earnings in countries with differing statutory tax rates or withholding taxes;

changes in the valuation of our deferred tax assets and liabilities;

transfer pricing adjustments;

an increase in non-deductible expenses for tax purposes, including certain stock-based compensation expense;

tax costs related to intercompany realignments;

tax assessments resulting from income tax audits or any related tax interest or penalties that could significantly affect our provision for income taxes for the period in which the settlement takes place; and


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changes in accounting principles, court decisions, tax rulings, and interpretations of or changes to tax laws, and regulations by international, federal or local governmental authorities.

We have open tax years that could be subject to the examination by the Internal Revenue Service (the “IRS”) and other tax authorities. We currently have ongoing tax audits in the United Kingdom, Canada and several other foreign jurisdictions. The focus of all of these audits is the allocation of profit between our legal entities. We regularly assess the likelihood of adverse outcomes resulting from such examinations to determine the adequacy of our provision for income taxes. Although we believe that our estimates are reasonable, the ultimate tax outcome may differ from the amounts recorded in our consolidated financial statements and may materially affect our financial results.

On June 7, 2019, the Ninth Circuit issued an opinion in Altera Corporation and Subsidiaries vs. Commissioner of Internal Revenue that reversed the Tax Court Decision in favor of the IRS. This ruling stated the IRS rule that stock compensation must be included in cost sharing was valid. Based on this decision, in second quarter of 2019, we recorded a reserve for uncertain tax positions for this potential tax liability. On February 10, 2020, the Ninth Circuit decision was appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States. We will continue to monitor and assess the impact as this case moves forward.

We may undertake corporate operating restructurings or transfers of assets that involve our group of foreign country subsidiaries through which we do business abroad, in order to maximize the operational and tax efficiency of our group structure. If ineffectual, such restructurings or transfers could increase our income tax liabilities, and in turn, increase our global effective tax rate. Moreover, our existing corporate structure and intercompany arrangements have been implemented in a manner that we believe is in compliance with current prevailing tax laws. However, the tax authorities of the jurisdictions in which we operate may challenge our methodologies for valuing developed technology or intercompany arrangements, which could impact our worldwide effective tax rate and harm our financial position and operating results.

Significant judgment is required in determining any valuation allowance recorded against deferred tax assets. In assessing the need for a valuation allowance, we consider all available evidence, including past operating results, estimates of future taxable income and the feasibility of tax planning strategies. In the event that we change our determination as to the amount of deferred tax assets that can be realized, we will adjust our valuation allowance with a corresponding impact to the provision for income taxes in the period in which such determination is made.

Forecasting our estimated annual effective tax rate is complex and subject to uncertainty, and there may be material differences between our forecasted and actual tax rates.

Forecasts of our income tax position and effective tax rate are complex, subject to uncertainty and periodic updates because our income tax position for each year combines the effects of a mix of profits earned and losses incurred by us in various tax jurisdictions with a broad range of income tax rates, as well as changes in the valuation of deferred tax assets and liabilities, the impact of various accounting rules and changes to these rules and tax laws, the results of examinations by various tax authorities, and the impact of any acquisition, business combination or other reorganization or financing transaction. To forecast our global tax rate, we estimate our pre-tax profits and losses by jurisdiction and forecast our tax expense by jurisdiction. If the mix of profits and losses, our ability to use tax credits or effective tax rates in a given jurisdiction differs from our estimate, our actual tax rate could be materially different than forecasted, which could have a material impact on our results of business, financial condition and results of operations. Additionally, our actual tax rate may be subject to further uncertainty due to potential changes in U.S. and foreign tax rules.

As a multinational corporation, we conduct our business in many countries and are subject to taxation in many jurisdictions. The taxation of our business is subject to the application of multiple and sometimes conflicting tax laws and regulations, as well as multinational tax conventions. Our effective tax rate is highly dependent upon the geographic distribution of our worldwide earnings or losses, the tax regulations and tax holidays in each geographic region, the availability of tax credits and carryforwards and the effectiveness of our tax planning strategies. The application of tax laws and regulations is subject to legal and factual interpretation, judgment and uncertainty. Tax laws themselves are subject to change as a result of changes in fiscal policy, changes in legislation and the evolution of regulations and court rulings. Consequently, tax authorities may impose tax assessments or judgments against us that could materially impact our tax liability and/or our effective income tax rate.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (the “OECD”), an international association comprised of 36 countries, including the United States, has issued and continues to issue guidelines and proposals that change various aspects of the existing framework under which our tax obligations are determined in many of the countries in which we do business. Due to our extensive international business activities, any changes in the taxation of such activities could increase our tax obligations in many countries and may increase our worldwide effective tax rate.

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Our inability to acquire and integrate other businesses, products or technologies could seriously harm our competitive position.

In order to remain competitive, we may seek to acquire additional businesses, products, technologies or intellectual property, such as patents. For example, we closed our acquisitions of enSilo and CyberSponse in the fourth quarter of 2019. For any possible future acquisitions, we may not be successful in negotiating the terms of the acquisition or financing the acquisition. For both our prior and future acquisitions, we may not be successful in effectively integrating the acquired business, product, technology or intellectual property and sales force into our existing business and operations. We may have difficulty incorporating acquired technologies, intellectual property or products with our existing product lines, integrating reporting systems and procedures, and maintaining uniform standards, controls, procedures and policies. For example, we may experience difficulties integrating an acquired company’s ERP or CRM systems, sales support and other processes and systems, with our current systems and processes. Our due diligence may fail to identify all of the problems, liabilities or other shortcomings or challenges of an acquired business, product or technology, including issues with intellectual property, product quality or product architecture, regulatory compliance practices, revenue recognition or other accounting practices or employee or customer issues, and we may not accurately forecast the financial impact of an acquisition. In addition, any acquisitions we are able to complete may be dilutive to revenue growth and earnings and may not result in any synergies or other benefits we had expected to achieve, which could result in impairment charges that could be substantial. We may have to pay cash, incur debt or issue equity securities to pay for any acquisition, each of which could affect our financial condition or the value of our capital stock and could result in dilution to our stockholders. Acquisitions during a quarter may result in increased operating expenses and adversely affect our results of operations for that period or future periods compared to the results that we have previously forecasted or achieved. Further, completing a potential acquisition and integrating acquired businesses, products, technologies or intellectual property could significantly divert management time and resources.

Our business is subject to the risks of warranty claims, product returns, product liability and product defects.

Our products are very complex and, despite testing prior to their release, have contained and may contain undetected defects or errors, especially when first introduced or when new versions are released. Product errors have affected the performance and effectiveness of our products and could delay the development or release of new products or new versions of products, adversely affect our reputation and our end-customers’ willingness to buy products from us, result in litigation and disputes with customers and adversely affect market acceptance or perception of our products. Any such errors or delays in releasing new products or new versions of products or allegations of unsatisfactory performance could cause us to lose revenue or market share, increase our service costs, cause us to incur substantial costs in redesigning the products, cause us to lose significant end-customers, subject us to litigation, litigation costs and liability for damages and divert our resources from other tasks, any one of which could materially and adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition. Our products must successfully interoperate with products from other vendors. As a result, when problems occur in a network, it may be difficult to identify the sources of these problems. The occurrence of hardware and software errors, whether or not caused by our products, could delay or reduce market acceptance of our products and have an adverse effect on our business and financial performance, and any necessary revisions may cause us to incur significant expenses. The occurrence of any such problems could harm our business, financial condition and results of operations.
 
Although we generally have limitation of liability provisions in our standard terms and conditions of sale, they may not fully or effectively protect us from claims if exceptions apply or if the provisions are deemed unenforceable, and in some circumstances we may be required to indemnify a customer in full, without limitation, for certain liabilities, including liabilities that are not contractually limited. The sale and support of our products also entail the risk of product liability claims. We maintain insurance to protect against certain claims associated with the use of our products, but our insurance coverage may not adequately cover any claim asserted against us, if at all, and in some instances may subject us to potential liability that is not contractually limited. In addition, even claims that ultimately are unsuccessful could result in our expenditure of funds in litigation and divert management’s time and other resources.
 
Our business is subject to the risks of earthquakes, fire, power outages, typhoon, floods, virus outbreaks and other broad health-related challenges and other catastrophic events, and to interruption by manmade problems such as civil unrest, labor disruption, critical infrastructure attack and terrorism.

A significant natural disaster, such as an earthquake, fire, power outage, flood, viral outbreak or other catastrophic event, could have a material adverse impact on our business, operating results and financial condition. Our corporate headquarters are located in the San Francisco Bay Area, a region known for seismic activity, and our research and development and data center in Burnaby, Canada, from which we deliver to customers our FortiGuard security subscription updates, is subject to the risk of flooding and is also in a region known for seismic activity. Any earthquake in the Bay Area or Burnaby, or

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flooding in Burnaby, could materially negatively impact our ability to provide products and services, such as FortiCare support and FortiGuard subscription services and could otherwise materially negatively impact our business. In addition, natural disasters could affect our manufacturing vendors, suppliers or logistics providers’ ability to perform services, such as obtaining product components and manufacturing products, or performing or assisting with shipments, on a timely basis, as well as our customers’ ability to order from us and our employees’ ability to perform their duties. For example, a typhoon in Taiwan could materially negatively impact our ability to ship products and could result in delays in billings and revenues, and the coronavirus outbreak could materially negatively impact our ability to manufacture and ship products. In the event our or our service providers’ information technology systems or manufacturing or logistics abilities are hindered by any of the events discussed above, shipments could be delayed, resulting in our missing financial targets, such as revenue and shipment targets, for a particular quarter. In addition, regional instability, civil unrest, labor disruptions, acts of terrorism and other geo-political unrest could cause disruptions in our business or the business of our manufacturers, logistics providers, partners or end-customers, or of the economy as a whole. Given our typical concentration of sales at the end of each quarter, any disruption in the business of our manufacturers, logistics providers, partners or end-customers that impacts sales at the end of our quarter could have a significant adverse impact on our quarterly results. To the extent that any of the above results in security risks to our customers, delays or cancellations of customer orders, the delay of the manufacture, deployment or shipment of our products or interruption or downtime of our services, our business, financial condition and results of operations would be adversely affected.

Risks Related to Our Industry

The network security market is rapidly evolving and the complex technology incorporated in our products makes them difficult to develop. If we do not accurately predict, prepare for and respond promptly to technological and market developments and changing end-customer needs, our competitive position and prospects may be harmed.

The network security market is expected to continue to evolve rapidly. Moreover, many of our end-customers operate in markets characterized by rapidly changing technologies and business plans, which require them to add numerous network access points and adapt increasingly complex networks, incorporating a variety of hardware, software applications, operating systems and networking protocols. In addition, computer hackers and others who try to attack networks employ increasingly sophisticated techniques to gain access to and attack systems and networks. The technology in our products is especially complex because it needs to effectively identify and respond to new and increasingly sophisticated methods of attack, while minimizing the impact on network performance. Additionally, some of our new products and enhancements may require us to develop new hardware architectures and ASICs that involve complex, expensive and time-consuming research and development processes. For example, we enter into development agreements with third parties. If our contract development projects are not successfully completed, or are not completed in a timely fashion, our product development could be delayed and our business generally could suffer. Costs for contract development can be substantial and our profitability may be harmed if we are unable to recover these costs. Although the market expects rapid introduction of new products or product enhancements to respond to new threats, the development of these products is difficult and the timetable for commercial release and availability is uncertain and there can be long time periods between releases and availability of new products. We have in the past and may in the future experience unanticipated delays in the availability of new products and services and fail to meet previously announced timetables for such availability. If we do not quickly respond to the rapidly changing and rigorous needs of our end-customers by developing and releasing and making available on a timely basis new products and services or enhancements that can respond adequately to new security threats, our competitive position and business prospects may be harmed.

Moreover, business models based on SaaS, either hosted or cloud-based services, have become increasingly in-demand by our end-customers and adopted by other providers, including our competitors. While we have introduced additional cloud-based products and services and will continue to do so, most of our platform is currently deployed on premise, and therefore, if customers demand that our platform be provided through a SaaS business model, we would be required to make additional investments in our infrastructure and personnel to be able to more fully provide our platform through a SaaS model in order to maintain the competitiveness of our platform. Such investments may involve expanding our data centers, servers and networks, and increasing our technical operations and engineering teams. These risks are compounded by the uncertainty concerning the future viability of SaaS business models and the future demand for such models by customers. Additionally, if we are unable to meet the demand to provide our services through a SaaS model, we may lose customers to competitors.

Our uniform resource locator (“URL”) database for our web filtering service may fail to keep pace with the rapid growth of URLs and may not categorize websites in accordance with our end-customers expectations.

The success of our web filtering service depends on the breadth and accuracy of our URL database. Although our URL database currently catalogs millions of unique URLs, it contains only a portion of the URLs for all of the websites that are

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available on the internet. In addition, the total number of URLs and software applications is growing rapidly, and we expect this rapid growth to continue in the future. Accordingly, we must identify and categorize content for our security risk categories at an extremely rapid rate. Our database and technologies may not be able to keep pace with the growth in the number of websites, especially the growing amount of content utilizing foreign languages and the increasing sophistication of malicious code and the delivery mechanisms associated with spyware, phishing and other hazards associated with the internet. Further, the ongoing evolution of the internet and computing environments will require us to continually improve the functionality, features and reliability of our web filtering function. Any failure of our databases to keep pace with the rapid growth and technological change of the internet could impair the market acceptance of our products, which in turn could harm our business, financial condition and results of operations.

In addition, our web filtering service may not be successful in accurately categorizing internet and application content to meet our end-customers’ expectations. We rely upon a combination of automated filtering technology and human review to categorize websites and software applications in our proprietary databases. Our end-customers may not agree with our determinations that particular URLs should be included or not included in specific categories of our databases. In addition, it is possible that our filtering processes may place material that is objectionable or that presents a security risk in categories that are generally unrestricted by our customers’ internet and computer access policies, which could result in such material not being blocked from the network. Conversely, we may miscategorize websites such that access is denied to websites containing information that is important or valuable to our customers. Any miscategorization could result in customer dissatisfaction and harm our reputation. Any failure to effectively categorize and filter websites according to our end-customers’ and channel partners’ expectations could impair the growth of our business.

If our new products and product enhancements do not achieve sufficient market acceptance, our results of operations and competitive position will suffer.

We spend substantial amounts of time and money to acquire and develop internally new products and enhanced versions of our existing products in order to incorporate additional features, improved functionality or other enhancements in order to meet our customers’ rapidly evolving demands for network security in our highly competitive industry. When we develop a new product or an enhanced version of an existing product, we typically incur expenses and expend resources upfront to market, promote and sell the new offering. Therefore, when we develop and introduce new or enhanced products, they must achieve high levels of market acceptance in order to justify the amount of our investment in developing and bringing them to market.
 
Our new products or product enhancements could fail to attain sufficient market acceptance for many reasons, including:
 
delays in releasing our new products or enhancements to the market;
 
failure to accurately predict market demand in terms of product functionality and to supply products that meet this demand in a timely fashion;

failure to have the appropriate research and development expertise and focus to make our top strategic fabric products successful;
 
failure of our sales force and partners to focus on selling new products;
 
inability to interoperate effectively with the networks or applications of our prospective end-customers;
 
inability to protect against new types of attacks or techniques used by hackers;
 
actual or perceived defects, vulnerabilities, errors or failures;
 
negative publicity about their performance or effectiveness;
 
introduction or anticipated introduction of competing products by our competitors;
 
poor business conditions for our end-customers, causing them to delay IT purchases;
 
changes to the regulatory requirements around security; and
 

32


reluctance of customers to purchase products incorporating open source software.
 
If our new products or enhancements do not achieve adequate acceptance in the market, our competitive position will be impaired, our revenue will be diminished and the effect on our operating results may be particularly acute because of the significant research, development, marketing, sales and other expenses we incurred in connection with the new product or enhancement.
  
Demand for our products may be limited by market perception that individual products from one vendor that provide multiple layers of security protection in one product are inferior to point solution network security solutions from multiple vendors.
 
Sales of many of our products depend on increased demand for incorporating broad security functionality into one appliance. If the market for these products fails to grow as we anticipate, our business will be seriously harmed. Target customers may view “all-in-one” network security solutions as inferior to security solutions from multiple vendors because of, among other things, their perception that such products of ours provide security functions from only a single vendor and do not allow users to choose “best-of-breed” defenses from among the wide range of dedicated security applications available. Target customers might also perceive that, by combining multiple security functions into a single platform, our solutions create a “single point of failure” in their networks, which means that an error, vulnerability or failure of our product may place the entire network at risk. In addition, the market perception that “all-in-one” solutions may be suitable only for small and medium-sized businesses because such solution lacks the performance capabilities and functionality of other solutions may harm our sales to large businesses, service provider and government organization end-customers. If the foregoing concerns and perceptions become prevalent, even if there is no factual basis for these concerns and perceptions, or if other issues arise with our market in general, demand for multi-security functionality products could be severely limited, which would limit our growth and harm our business, financial condition and results of operations. Further, a successful and publicized targeted attack against us, exposing a “single point of failure,” could significantly increase these concerns and perceptions and may harm our business and results of operations.
 
We face intense competition in our market and we may lack sufficient financial or other resources to maintain or improve our competitive position.
 
The market for network security products is intensely competitive and we expect competition to intensify in the future. We face many competitors across the different cybersecurity markets. Our competitors include companies such as Barracuda, Check Point, Cisco, CrowdStrike, F5 Networks, FireEye, Forcepoint, Imperva, Juniper, McAfee, Palo Alto Networks, Proofpoint, SonicWALL, Sophos, Trend Micro and Zscaler.
 
Many of our existing and potential competitors enjoy substantial competitive advantages such as:
 
greater name recognition and longer operating histories;
 
larger sales and marketing budgets and resources;
 
broader distribution and established relationships with distribution partners and end-customers;
 
access to larger customer bases;
 
greater customer support resources;
 
greater resources to make acquisitions;
 
lower labor and development costs; and
 
substantially greater financial, technical and other resources.
 
In addition, some of our larger competitors have substantially broader product offerings, and leverage their relationships based on other products or incorporate functionality into existing products in a manner that discourages customers from purchasing our products. These larger competitors often have broader product lines and market focus, and are in a better position to withstand any significant reduction in capital spending by end-customers in these markets. Therefore, these competitors will not be as susceptible to downturns in a particular market. Also, many of our smaller competitors that specialize

33


in providing protection from a single type of security threat are often able to deliver these specialized security products to the market more quickly than we can.

Conditions in our markets could change rapidly and significantly as a result of technological advancements or continuing market consolidation. Our competitors and potential competitors may also be able to develop products or services, and leverage new business models, that are equal or superior to ours, achieve greater market acceptance of their products and services, and increase sales by utilizing different distribution channels than we do. For example, certain of our competitors are focusing on delivering security services from the cloud. In addition, current or potential competitors may be acquired by third parties with greater available resources, and new competitors may arise pursuant to acquisitions of network security companies or divisions. As a result of such acquisitions, competition in our market may continue to increase and our current or potential competitors might be able to adapt more quickly to new technologies and customer needs, devote greater resources to the promotion or sale of their products and services, initiate or withstand substantial price competition, take advantage of acquisition or other opportunities more readily, or develop and expand their product and service offerings more quickly than we do. In addition, our competitors may bundle products and services competitive with ours with other products and services. Customers may accept these bundled products and services rather than separately purchasing our products and services. As our customers refresh the security products bought in prior years, they may seek to consolidate vendors, which may result in current customers choosing to purchase products from our competitors on an ongoing basis. Due to budget constraints or economic downturns, organizations may be more willing to incrementally add solutions to their existing network security infrastructure from competitors than to replace it with our solutions. These competitive pressures in our market or our failure to compete effectively may result in price reductions, fewer customer orders, reduced revenue and gross margins and loss of market share.
 
If functionality similar to that offered by our products is incorporated into existing network infrastructure products, organizations may decide against adding our appliances to their network, which would have an adverse effect on our business.
 
Large, well-established providers of networking equipment such as Cisco, F5 Networks and Juniper offer, and may continue to introduce, network security features that compete with our products, either in standalone security products or as additional features in their network infrastructure products. The inclusion of, or the announcement of an intent to include, functionality perceived to be similar to that offered by our security solutions in networking products that are already generally accepted as necessary components of network architecture may have an adverse effect on our ability to market and sell our products. Furthermore, even if the functionality offered by network infrastructure providers is more limited than our products, a significant number of customers may elect to accept such limited functionality in lieu of adding appliances from an additional vendor such as us. Many organizations have invested substantial personnel and financial resources to design and operate their networks and have established deep relationships with other providers of networking products, which may make them reluctant to add new components to their networks, particularly from other vendors such as us. In addition, an organization’s existing vendors or new vendors with a broad product offering may be able to offer concessions that we are not able to match because we currently offer only network security products and have fewer resources than many of our competitors. If organizations are reluctant to add additional network infrastructure from new vendors or otherwise decide to work with their existing vendors, our business, financial condition and results of operations will be adversely affected.

Risks Related to Intellectual Property

Our proprietary rights may be difficult to enforce, which could enable others to copy or use aspects of our products without compensating us.
 
We rely primarily on patent, trademark, copyright and trade secrets laws and confidentiality procedures and contractual provisions to protect our technology. Valid patents may not issue from our pending applications, and the claims eventually allowed on any patents may not be sufficiently broad to protect our technology or products. Any issued patents may be challenged, invalidated or circumvented, and any rights granted under these patents may not actually provide adequate defensive protection or competitive advantages to us. Patent applications in the United States are typically not published until at least 18 months after filing, or, in some cases, not at all, and publications of discoveries in industry-related literature lag behind actual discoveries. We cannot be certain that we were the first to make the inventions claimed in our pending patent applications or that we were the first to file for patent protection. Additionally, the process of obtaining patent protection is expensive and time-consuming, and we may not be able to prosecute all necessary or desirable patent applications at a reasonable cost or in a timely manner. In addition, recent changes to the patent laws in the United States may bring into question the validity of certain software patents and may make it more difficult and costly to prosecute patent applications. As a result, we may not be able to obtain adequate patent protection or effectively enforce our issued patents.
 

34


Despite our efforts to protect our proprietary rights, unauthorized parties may attempt to copy aspects of our products or obtain and use information that we regard as proprietary. We generally enter into confidentiality or license agreements with our employees, consultants, vendors and customers, and generally limit access to and distribution of our proprietary information. However, we cannot guarantee that the steps taken by us will prevent misappropriation of our technology. Policing unauthorized use of our technology or products is difficult. In addition, the laws of some foreign countries do not protect our proprietary rights to as great an extent as the laws of the United States, and many foreign countries do not enforce these laws as diligently as government agencies and private parties in the United States. From time to time, legal action by us may be necessary to enforce our patents and other intellectual property rights, to protect our trade secrets, to determine the validity and scope of the proprietary rights of others or to defend against claims of infringement or invalidity. Such litigation could result in substantial costs and diversion of resources and could negatively affect our business, operating results and financial condition. If we are unable to protect our proprietary rights (including aspects of our software and products protected other than by patent rights), we may find ourselves at a competitive disadvantage to others who need not incur the additional expense, time and effort required to create the innovative products that have enabled us to be successful to date.

Our products contain third-party open source software components, and failure to comply with the terms of the underlying open source software licenses could restrict our ability to sell our products.
 
Our products contain software modules licensed to us by third-party authors under “open source” licenses, including the GNU Public License, the GNU Lesser Public License, the BSD License, the Apache License, the MIT X License and the Mozilla Public License. From time to time, there have been claims against companies that distribute or use open source software in their products and services, asserting that open source software infringes the claimants’ intellectual property rights. We could be subject to suits by parties claiming infringement of intellectual property rights in what we believe to be licensed open source software. Use and distribution of open source software may entail greater risks than use of third-party commercial software, as, for example, open source licensors generally do not provide warranties or other contractual protections regarding infringement claims or the quality of the code. Some open source licenses contain requirements that we make available source code for modifications or derivative works we create based upon the type of open source software we use. If we combine our proprietary software with open source software in a certain manner, we could, under certain open source licenses, be required to release the source code of our proprietary software to the public. This would allow our competitors to create similar products with lower development effort and time and ultimately could result in a loss of product sales for us.
 
Although we monitor our use of open source software to avoid subjecting our products to conditions we do not intend, the terms of many open source licenses have not been interpreted by U.S. courts, and there is a risk that these licenses could be construed in a way that, for example, could impose unanticipated conditions or restrictions on our ability to commercialize our products. In this event, we could be required to seek licenses from third parties to continue offering our products, to make our proprietary code generally available in source code form, to re-engineer our products or to discontinue the sale of our products if re-engineering could not be accomplished on a timely basis, any of which requirements could adversely affect our business, operating results and financial condition.
 
Claims by others that we infringe their proprietary technology or other litigation matters could harm our business.
 
Patent and other intellectual property disputes are common in the network security industry. Third parties are currently asserting, have asserted and may in the future assert claims of infringement of intellectual property rights against us. Third parties have also asserted such claims against our end-customers or channel partners whom we may indemnify against claims that our products infringe the intellectual property rights of third parties. As the number of products and competitors in our market increases and overlaps occur, infringement claims may increase. Any claim of infringement by a third party, even those without merit, could cause us to incur substantial costs defending against the claim and could distract our management from our business. In addition, litigation may involve patent holding companies, non-practicing entities or other adverse patent owners who have no relevant product revenue and against whom our own patents may therefore provide little or no deterrence or protection.
 
Although third parties may offer a license to their technology, the terms of any offered license may not be acceptable, and the failure to obtain a license or the costs associated with any license could cause our business, financial condition and results of operations to be materially and adversely affected. In addition, some licenses may be non-exclusive and, therefore, our competitors may have access to the same technology licensed to us.
 
Alternatively, we may be required to develop non-infringing technology, which could require significant time, effort and expense, and may ultimately not be successful. Furthermore, a successful claimant could secure a judgment or we may agree to a settlement that prevents us from distributing certain products or performing certain services or that requires us to pay substantial damages (including treble damages if we are found to have willfully infringed such claimant’s patents or

35


copyrights), royalties or other fees. Any of these events could seriously harm our business, financial condition and results of operations.

From time to time we are subject to lawsuits claiming patent infringement. We are also subject to other litigation in addition to patent infringement claims, such as employment-related litigation and disputes, as well as general commercial litigation, and could become subject to other forms of litigation and disputes, including stockholder litigation. If we are unsuccessful in defending any such claims, our operating results and financial condition and results may be materially and adversely affected. For example, we may be required to pay substantial damages and could be prevented from selling certain of our products. Litigation, with or without merit, could negatively impact our business, reputation and sales in a material fashion.

We have several ongoing patent lawsuits, certain companies have sent us demand letters proposing that we license certain of their patents, and organizations have sent letters demanding that we provide indemnification for patent claims. As two examples of the ongoing patent lawsuits against us, one such patent lawsuit by British Telecommunications plc was filed in federal court in Delaware in July 2018, and a second such lawsuit by Finjan, Inc. was filed in federal court in California in October 2018, and additional patent lawsuits have been filed against us since. Given this and the proliferation of lawsuits in our industry and other similar industries by both non-practicing entities and operating entities, and recent non-practicing entity and operating entity patent litigation against other companies in the security space, we expect that we will be sued for patent infringement in the future, regardless of the merits of any such lawsuits. The cost to defend such lawsuits and any settlement payment or adverse result in such lawsuits could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition.

We rely on the availability of third-party licenses.

Many of our products include software or other intellectual property licensed from third parties. It may be necessary in the future to renew licenses relating to various aspects of these products or to seek new licenses for existing or new products. Licensors may claim we owe them additional license fees for past and future use of their software and other intellectual property or that we cannot utilize such software or intellectual property in our products going forward. There can be no assurance that the necessary licenses would be available on acceptable terms, if at all. The inability to obtain certain licenses or other rights or to obtain such licenses or rights on favorable terms or for reasonable pricing, or the need to engage in litigation regarding these matters, could result in delays in product releases until equivalent technology can be identified, licensed or developed, if at all, and integrated into our products and may result in significant license fees and have a material adverse effect on our business, operating results, and financial condition. Moreover, the inclusion in our products of software or other intellectual property licensed from third parties on a non-exclusive basis could limit our ability to differentiate our products from those of our competitors.

We also rely on technologies licensed from third parties in order to operate functions of our business. If any of these third parties allege that we have not properly paid for such licenses or that we have improperly used the technologies under such licenses, we may need to pay additional fees or obtain new licenses, and such licenses may not be available on terms acceptable to us or at all or may be costly. In any such case, or if we were required to redesign our internal operations to function with new technologies, our business, results of operations and financial condition could be harmed.

Risks Related to Ownership of our Common Stock

As a public company, we are subject to compliance initiatives that will require substantial time from our management and result in significantly increased costs that may adversely affect our operating results and financial condition.

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (“Sarbanes-Oxley”), Dodd-Frank and other rules implemented by the SEC and The Nasdaq Stock Market impose various requirements on public companies, including requiring changes in corporate governance practices. These requirements, as well as proposed corporate governance laws and regulations under consideration, may further increase our compliance costs. If compliance with these various legal and regulatory requirements diverts our management’s attention from other business concerns, it could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. Sarbanes-Oxley requires, among other things, that we assess the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting annually, and of our disclosure controls and procedures quarterly. Although our most recent assessment, testing and evaluation resulted in our conclusion that, as of December 31, 2019, our internal controls over financial reporting were effective, we cannot predict the outcome of our testing in 2020 or future periods. We may incur additional expenses and commitment of management’s time in connection with further evaluations, both of which could materially increase our operating expenses and accordingly reduce our operating results.


36


In September 2018, California enacted a law that requires publicly held companies headquartered in California to have at least one female director by the end of 2019 and at least three by the end of 2021, depending on the size of the board. The law would impose financial penalties for failure to comply. Though we are currently in compliance with the requirements of the law for 2019, we may incur costs associated with complying with the law in future years, including costs associated with expanding our board of directors or identifying qualified candidates for appointment to our board of directors, or financial penalties or harm to our brand and reputation if we are unable to do so.

Changes in financial accounting standards may cause adverse unexpected fluctuations and affect our reported results of operations.

A change in accounting standards or practices, and varying interpretations of existing or new accounting pronouncements, such as changes to standards related to revenue recognition (which became effective for us on January 1, 2018) and accounting for leases (which became effective for us on January 1, 2019), as well as the significant costs incurred or that may be incurred to adopt and to comply with these new pronouncements, could have a significant effect on our reported financial results or the way we conduct our business. If we do not ensure that our systems and processes are aligned with the new standards, we could encounter difficulties generating quarterly and annual financial statements in a timely manner, which could have an adverse effect on our business, our ability to meet our reporting obligations and compliance with internal control requirements.
The revenue and lease standards are principles based and interpretation of those principles may vary from company to company based on their unique circumstances. Management will continue to make judgments and assumptions based on our interpretation of the new standard. It is possible that interpretation, industry practice and guidance may evolve as we work toward implementing the new revenue recognition standard. If our circumstances change or if actual circumstances differ from our assumptions, our operating result may be adversely affected and could fall below our publicly announced guidance or the expectations of securities analysts and investors, resulting in a decline in the market price of our common stock. Further, equity investments are now required to be measured at fair value (with subsequent changes in fair value recognized in net income), which may increase the volatility of our earnings.
If securities or industry analysts stop publishing research or publish inaccurate or unfavorable research about our business, our stock price and trading volume could decline.

The trading market for our common stock will depend in part on the research and reports that securities or industry analysts publish about us or our business. If we do not maintain adequate research coverage or if one or more of the analysts who cover us downgrades our stock or publishes inaccurate or unfavorable research about our business, our stock price could decline. If one or more of these analysts ceases coverage of our company or fails to publish reports on us regularly, demand for our stock could decrease, which could cause our stock price and trading volume to decline.
 
The trading price of our common stock may be volatile.
 
The market price of our common stock may be subject to wide fluctuations in response to, among other things, the risk factors described in this periodic report, news about us and our financial results, news about our competitors and their results, and other factors such as rumors or fluctuations in the valuation of companies perceived by investors to be comparable to us. For example, during 2019, the closing price of our common stock ranged from $66.91 to $109.53 per share.

 Furthermore, stock markets have experienced price and volume fluctuations that have affected and continue to affect the market prices of equity securities of many companies. These fluctuations often have been unrelated or disproportionate to the operating performance of those companies. These broad market and industry fluctuations, as well as general economic, political and market conditions, such as recessions, interest rate changes or international currency fluctuations, may negatively affect the market price of our common stock.
 
In the past, many companies that have experienced volatility in the market price of their stock have been subject to securities class action litigation. We may be the target of this type of litigation in the future. Securities litigation against us could result in substantial costs and divert our management’s attention from other business concerns, which could seriously harm our business.


37


Share repurchases under our Repurchase Program (the “Repurchase Program”) could increase the volatility of the trading price of our common stock, could diminish our cash reserves, could occur at non-optimal prices and may not result in the most effective use of our capital.

In November 2019, our board of directors approved a $1.0 billion increase in the authorized stock repurchase under the Repurchase Program and extended the term of the Repurchase Program to February 28, 2021, bringing the aggregate amount authorized to be repurchased $2.5 billion. As of December 31, 2019, $1.6 billion remained available for future share repurchases under the Repurchase Program. Share repurchases under the Repurchase Program could affect the price of our common stock, increase stock price volatility and diminish our cash reserves. In addition, an announcement of the reduction, suspension or termination of the Repurchase Program could result in a decrease in the trading price of our common stock. Moreover, our stock price could decline, resulting in repurchases made at non-optimal prices. Our failure to repurchase our stock at optimal prices may be perceived by investors as an inefficient use of our cash and cash equivalents, which could result in litigation that may have an adverse effect on our business, operating results and financial condition. In addition, while our board of directors carefully considers various alternative uses of our cash and cash equivalents in determining whether to authorize stock repurchases, there can be no assurance that the decision by our board of directors to repurchase stock would result in the most effective uses of our cash and cash equivalents, and there may be alternative uses of our cash and cash equivalents that would be more effective, such as investing in growing our business organically or through acquisitions.

Anti-takeover provisions contained in our certificate of incorporation and bylaws, as well as provisions of Delaware law, could impair a takeover attempt.
 
Our certificate of incorporation, bylaws and Delaware law contain provisions that could have the effect of rendering more difficult, delaying or preventing an acquisition deemed undesirable by our board of directors. Our corporate governance documents include provisions:

authorizing “blank check” preferred stock, which could be issued by the board without stockholder approval and may contain voting, liquidation, dividend and other rights superior to our common stock;
 
limiting the liability of, and providing indemnification to, our directors and officers;
 
limiting the ability of our stockholders to call and bring business before special meetings;
 
requiring advance notice of stockholder proposals for business to be conducted at meetings of our stockholders and for nominations of candidates for election to our board of directors;

providing that certain litigation matters may only be brought against us in state or federal courts in the State of Delaware;
 
controlling the procedures for the conduct and scheduling of board and stockholder meetings; and
 
providing the board of directors with the express power to postpone previously scheduled annual meetings and to cancel previously scheduled special meetings.
 
These provisions, alone or together, could delay or prevent hostile takeovers and changes in control or changes in our management.
 
As a Delaware corporation, we are also subject to provisions of Delaware law, including Section 203 of the Delaware General Corporation Law, which prevents stockholders holding more than 15% of our outstanding common stock from engaging in certain business combinations without approval of the holders of a substantial majority of all of our outstanding common stock.
 
Any provision of our certificate of incorporation, bylaws or Delaware law that has the effect of delaying or deterring a change in control could limit the opportunity for our stockholders to receive a premium for their shares of our common stock, and could also affect the price that some investors are willing to pay for our common stock.

However, these anti-takeover provisions will not have the effect of preventing activist stockholders from seeking to increase short-term stockholder value through actions such as nominating board candidates and requesting that we pursue strategic combinations or other transactions. These actions could disrupt our operations, be costly and time-consuming and divert the attention of our management and employees. In addition, perceived uncertainties as to our future direction as a result

38


of activist stockholder actions could result in the loss of potential business opportunities, as well as other negative business consequences. Actions of an activist stockholder may also cause fluctuations in our stock price based on speculative market perceptions or other factors that do not necessarily reflect our business. Further, we may incur significant expenses in retaining professionals to advise and assist us on activist stockholder matters, including legal, financial, communications advisors and solicitation experts, which may negatively impact our future financial results.

ITEM 1B.     Unresolved Staff Comments

Not applicable.

ITEM 2.     Properties

Our corporate headquarters is located in Sunnyvale, California and comprises approximately 160,000 square feet of building space on ten acres of land. In 2019, we began construction on a second building of approximately 170,000 square feet that will serve as the cornerstone of our headquarters campus. Along with our corporate headquarters, as of December 31, 2019, we also own approximately 200,000 square feet in Union City, California used as a manufacturing assembly and operations center; approximately 375,000 square feet of office and building space in Burnaby and Ottawa, Canada used for operations, support and research and development work; and 40,000 square feet of office space in Valbonne, France predominantly used as a sales and support office.

We maintain additional leased offices throughout the world, predominantly used as sales and support offices. We believe that our existing properties are sufficient and suitable to meet our current needs. We intend to expand our facilities or add new facilities as we add employees and enter new geographic markets, and we believe that suitable additional or alternative space will be available as needed to accommodate ongoing operations and any such growth. However, we expect to incur additional operating expenses and capital expenditures in connection with such new or expanded facilities.

For information regarding the geographical location of our property and equipment, see Note 15 to our consolidated financial statements in Part II, Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

ITEM 3.     Legal Proceedings

We are subject to various claims, complaints and legal actions that arise from time to time in the normal course of business. We accrue for contingencies when we believe that a loss is probable and that we can reasonably estimate the amount of any such loss. There can be no assurance that existing or future legal proceedings arising in the ordinary course of business or otherwise will not have a material adverse effect on our business, consolidated financial position, results of operations or cash flows.

ITEM 4.     Mine Safety Disclosure

Not applicable.


39


Part II

ITEM 5.
Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

Our common stock is traded on The Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol “FTNT.”

Holders of Record

As of February 21, 2020, there were 43 holders of record of our common stock. A substantially greater number of holders of our common stock are “street name” or beneficial holders, whose shares are held by banks, brokers and other financial institutions.

Dividends

We have never declared or paid cash dividends on our capital stock. We do not anticipate paying any cash dividends in the foreseeable future. Any future determination to declare cash dividends will be made at the discretion of our board of directors and will depend on our financial condition, operating results, capital requirements, general business conditions and other factors that our board of directors may deem relevant.

Stock Performance Graph

This performance graph shall not be deemed “filed” for purposes of Section 18 of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”), or incorporated by reference into any filing of Fortinet under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”), or the Exchange Act, except as shall be expressly set forth by specific reference in such filing.

The following graph compares the cumulative five-year total return for our common stock, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Stock Index (the “S&P 500 Index”) and the NASDAQ Computer Index. Such returns are based on historical results and are not intended to suggest future performance. Data for the S&P 500 Index and the NASDAQ Computer Index assume reinvestment of dividends. We have never declared or paid cash dividends on our capital stock, nor do we anticipate paying any such cash dividends in the foreseeable future.


40


COMPARISON OF CUMULATIVE TOTAL RETURN*
Among Fortinet, Inc., the S&P 500 Index and
the NASDAQ Computer Index
https://cdn.kscope.io/edf0542a4dd75678ceddbb6480c5f1f2-ftnt10k2019stockgraph.jpg
 
 
December 2014 *
 
December 2015
 
December 2016
 
December 2017
 
December 2018
 
December 2019
Fortinet, Inc.
 
$
100

 
$
102

 
$
98

 
$
142

 
$
230

 
$
348

S&P 500 Index
 
$
100

 
$
99

 
$
109

 
$
130

 
$
122

 
$
157

NASDAQ Computer
 
$
100

 
$
106

 
$
119

 
$
166

 
$
159

 
$
240

 
* Assumes that $100 was invested on December 31, 2014 in stock or index, including reinvestment of dividends. Stockholder returns over the indicated period should not be considered indicative of future stockholder returns.
 
Sales of Unregistered Securities

None.

Purchases of Equity Securities by the Issuer and Affiliated Purchasers

Share Repurchase Program

In January 2016, our board of directors approved our Share Repurchase Program (the “Repurchase Program”). In November 2019, our board of directors approved a $1.0 billion increase in the authorized stock repurchase under the Repurchase Program and extended the term of the Repurchase Program to February 28, 2021, bringing the aggregate amount authorized to be repurchased to $2.5 billion of our outstanding common stock through February 28, 2021. Under the Repurchase Program, share repurchases may be made by us from time to time in privately negotiated transactions or in open market transactions. The Repurchase Program does not require us to purchase a minimum number of shares, and may be suspended, modified or discontinued at any time without prior notice. Since its inception, we have repurchased 20.8 million shares of our common stock under the Repurchase Program for an aggregate purchase price of $907.2 million.


41


The following table provides information with respect to the shares of common stock we repurchased during the three months ended December 31, 2019 (in millions, except per share amounts):
 
 
Total Number of Shares Purchased
 
Average Price Paid per Share
 
Total Number of Shares Purchased as Part of Publicly Announced Plans or Programs
 
Approximate Dollar Value of Shares that May Yet Be Purchased Under the Plans or Programs
October 1 - October 31, 2019
 
0.3

 
$
77.39

 
0.3

 
$
592.9

November 1 - November 30, 2019
 

 
$

 

 
$
1,592.9

December 1 - December 31, 2019
 
*

 
$
100.01

 
*

 
$
1,592.8

Total
 
0.3

 
$
77.40

 
0.3

 
 
 
* Number rounds to zero

ITEM 6.     Selected Financial Data

The following selected consolidated financial data set forth below was derived from our historical audited consolidated financial statements and should be read in conjunction with the section titled “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and “Financial Statements and Supplementary Data,” and other financial data included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Our historical results of operations are not indicative of our future results of operations.

 
Year Ended December 31,
 
2019
 
2018
 
2017
 
2016
 
2015
 
(in millions, except per share amounts)
Consolidated Statements of Income Data:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Total revenue
$
2,156.2

 
$
1,801.2

 
$
1,494.9

 
$
1,275.4

 
$
1,009.3

Total gross profit
$
1,650.3

 
$
1,350.8

 
$
1,109.6

 
$
937.6

 
$
722.5

Operating income
$
344.2

 
$
231.0

 
$
109.8

 
$
42.9

 
$
14.9

Net income
$
326.5

 
$
332.2

 
$
31.4

 
$
32.2

 
$
8.0

Net income per share:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Basic
$
1.91

 
$
1.96

 
$
0.18

 
$
0.19

 
$
0.05

Diluted
$
1.87

 
$
1.91

 
$
0.18

 
$
0.18

 
$
0.05

Weighted-average shares outstanding:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Basic
171.0

 
169.1

 
174.3

 
172.6

 
170.4

Diluted
175.0

 
174.2

 
178.1

 
176.3

 
176.1


 
As of December 31,
2019
 
2018
 
2017
 
2016
 
2015
(in millions)
Consolidated Balance Sheet Data:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Cash, cash equivalents and investments
$
2,209.9

 
$
1,716.6

 
$
1,349.3

 
$
1,310.5

 
$
1,164.3

Total assets
$
3,885.5

 
$
3,078.0

 
$
2,257.9

 
$
2,139.9

 
$
1,790.5

Total stockholders’ equity
$
1,321.9

 
$
1,010.2

 
$
589.4

 
$
837.7

 
$
755.4



42


ITEM 7.     Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

In addition to historical information, this Annual Report on Form 10-K contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act and Section 21E of the Exchange Act. These statements include, among other things, statements concerning our expectations regarding:

continued growth and market share gains;

variability in sales in certain product categories from year to year and between quarters;

expected impact of sales of certain products and services;

the impact of macro-economic, geopolitical factors and other disruption on our manufacturing or sales, including the impact of the coronavirus and other public health issues and natural disasters;

the proportion of our revenue that consists of our product and service revenue, and the mix of billings between products and services, and the duration of service contracts;
 
the impact of our product innovation strategy;

the effects of government regulation, tariffs and other related policies;

drivers of long-term growth and operating leverage, such as increased sales productivity, functionality and value in our standalone and bundled subscription service offerings;

growing our sales to businesses, service providers and government organizations, our ability to execute these sales and of the complexity of selling to all segments (including the increased competition and unpredictability of timing associated with sales to larger enterprises), the impact of sales to these organizations on our long-term growth, expansion and operating results, and the effectiveness of our internal sales organization;

our ability to hire properly qualified and effective sales, support and engineering employees;

trends in revenue, cost of revenue and gross margin;
 
trends in our operating expenses, including sales and marketing expense, research and development expense, general and administrative expense, and expectations regarding these expenses;

risks and expectations related to acquisitions or sales of assets, including integration issues related to product plans and products, including the acquired technology;

continued investments in research and development, and expectations that our research and development expense will increase in absolute dollars during 2020;

continued investments in our sales resources and infrastructure and marketing strategy, and expectations that our sales and marketing expense will increase in absolute dollars during 2020;

expectations that our general and administrative expense will increase in absolute dollars during 2020;

expectations that proceeds from the exercise of stock options in future years will be adversely impacted by the increased mix of restricted stock units versus stock options granted;

estimates of a range of 2020 spending on our headquarters expansion project;

expectations regarding uncertain tax benefits and our effective domestic and global tax rates, and the impact of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (the “2017 Tax Act”) and the Ninth Circuit’s Altera decision regarding stock-based compensation in cost sharing arrangements;


43


expectations regarding spending related to real estate and other capital expenditures and to the impact on free cash flows;

competition in our markets;

statements regarding expected outcomes and liabilities in litigation;

our intentions regarding share repurchases and the sufficiency of our existing cash, cash equivalents and investments to meet our cash needs for at least the next 12 months;

other statements regarding our future operations, financial condition and prospects and business strategies; and

adoption and impact of new accounting standards.

These forward-looking statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause our actual results to differ materially from those reflected in the forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause or contribute to such differences include, but are not limited to, those discussed in this Annual Report on Form 10-K and, in particular, the risks discussed under the heading “Risk Factors” in Part I, Item 1A of this Annual Report on Form 10-K and those discussed in other documents we file with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”). We undertake no obligation, and specifically disclaim any obligation, to revise or publicly release the results of any revision to these and any other forward-looking statements. Given these risks and uncertainties, readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on such forward-looking statements.

Business Overview

Fortinet is a global leader in cybersecurity solutions provided to a wide variety of organizations, such as enterprises, communication service providers, government organizations and small businesses. Our cybersecurity solutions are designed to provide broad visibility and segmentation of the digital attack surface through our integrated Fortinet Security Fabric platform, which features automated protection, detection and response.

The focus areas of our business consist of:

Network Security—We derive a majority of product sales from our FortiGate network security appliances. Our FortiGate network security appliances include a broad set of built-in security and networking features and functionalities, including firewall, next-generation firewall, secure web gateway, SSL inspection, SD-WAN, intrusion prevention, SSL data leak prevention, VPN, switch and wireless controller and wide area network edge. Our network security appliances are managed by our FortiOS network operating system, which provides the foundation for FortiGate security functions. We enhance the performance of our network security appliances from branch to data center by designing and implementing SPU technology within our appliances, enabling us to add security and network functionality with minimal impact to network throughput performance.

Infrastructure Security—The Fortinet Security Fabric platform is a broad, automated and integrated security platform that extends beyond the network to cover other attack vectors. Other infrastructure solutions covered include Secure Access (Wi-Fi and switch).

Cloud Security—We help customers connect securely to and across their hybrid, public and private cloud environments by offering security through our virtual firewall and other software products in public and private cloud environments. Our cloud security solutions, including virtual appliances and hosted solutions, extend the core capabilities of the Fortinet Security Fabric platform to provide businesses with the same level of cybersecurity and threat intelligence in and across cloud environments that they receive on their physical networks. Fortinet cloud security offerings are available across all major cloud providers, including Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, Oracle Cloud, Alibaba Cloud and IBM Cloud. Our Cloud Security portfolio also includes securing applications, including email and web.


44


Endpoint Protection, Internet of Things and Operational Technology Security—We protect end-customers from advanced threats that target their devices and the data that reside on them through our advanced endpoint solutions that provide core endpoint protection, advanced threat protection, incident monitoring, and response. Additionally, the proliferation of IoT and the digitization of OT devices has generated new opportunities for us to grow our business. We offer network access control solutions that provide visibility, control and automated event responses in order to secure IoT devices.

We also develop and provide AI-driven security operations solutions, including FortiGuard security services that can be applied across the entire Fortinet Security Fabric platform. These solutions help customers better secure their environments by delivering deeper intelligence and insights and by narrowing the gaps in security skills and resources that are present in many organizations.

In addition to our security solutions, our customers, channel partners and end-customers may purchase FortiGuard and other security subscription services to receive threat intelligence updates, FortiCare technical support services across all of our products and the support of Technical Account Managers, Resident Engineers and professional service consultants for implementations or training services.

Financial Highlights

Total revenue was $2.16 billion in 2019, an increase of 20% compared to $1.80 billion in 2018. Product revenue was $788.5 million in 2019, an increase of 17% compared to $674.4 million in 2018. Service revenue was $1.37 billion in 2019, an increase of 21% compared to $1.13 billion in 2018.

We generated operating income of $344.2 million in 2019, an increase of 49% compared to $231.0 million in 2018.

Cash, cash equivalents and investments were $2.21 billion as of December 31, 2019, an increase of $493.3 million, or 29%, from December 31, 2018.

Deferred revenue was $2.14 billion as of December 31, 2019, an increase of $449.1 million, or 27%, from December 31, 2018.

We generated cash flows from operating activities of $808.0 million in 2019, an increase of $169.1 million, or 26%, compared to 2018.

In 2019, we repurchased 1.9 million shares of common stock under the Repurchase Program for an aggregate purchase price of $140.9 million. In 2018, we repurchased 3.8 million shares of common stock for a total purchase price of $209.1 million.

Our revenue growth was driven by both product and service revenue. On a geographic basis, revenue continues to be diversified globally, which remains a key strength of our business. Product revenue grew 17% in 2019. We experienced revenue growth across several of our hardware and software products, including FortiGate enabled with SD-WAN features. Service revenue growth of 21% in 2019 was driven by the strength of our FortiGuard and other security subscription revenue, which grew 24%.
 
During the second quarter of 2019, we reclassified the 100 series of our FortiGate product from an entry-level product to a mid-range product. Prior periods have been reclassified to conform with current period presentation. Including this reclassification, we saw a mix shift from high-end to mid-range products in 2019.

During the fourth quarter of 2019, we acquired enSilo Limited (“enSilo”) and CyberSponse Inc. (“CyberSponse”) to further strengthen our Fortinet Security Fabric platform by providing real-time automated endpoint detection and response capability (enSilo) and security orchestration, automation and response products and services (CyberSponse). The impact of these acquisitions, individually and in the aggregate, were not material to our consolidated financial statements.
 
In 2019, our revenue growth outpaced our growth in operating expenses. As a result, operating expenses as a percentage of revenue decreased by two percentage points compared to 2018. Headcount increased by 21% to 7,082 employees and contractors as of December 31, 2019, up from 5,845 as of December 31, 2018. The acquisition of enSilo and CyberSponse increased headcount by 135 employees. Excluding these two acquisitions, headcount would have increased 19% year over year.


45


The impact of the coronavirus outbreak on our business remains uncertain, and, though the majority of our products are manufactured outside of China, certain components for our products and certain of our products are manufactured in China and Taiwan and we have international shipping and logistics centers in Taiwan. While any significant impact is uncertain at this point, if the coronavirus outbreak continues to spread, the business disruption caused thereby could have a material negative impact on our billings, revenue, gross margin, operating margin, cash flows and other financial results for the first quarter of 2020 and certain periods thereafter.

Business Model

We primarily sell our products and services through a two-tier distribution model. We sell to distributors that sell to networking security and enterprise-focused resellers and to service providers and MSSPs, who, in turn, sell to our end-customers. In certain cases, we sell directly to large service providers and major systems integrators. In certain cases, we sell directly to large service providers and major systems integrators. We also offer our products across major cloud providers, and have recognized on-demand revenue from Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, IBM Cloud, Google Cloud and Oracle Cloud. We have also recognized revenue from customers who deploy our products in a bring-your-own-license (“BYOL”) arrangement at a cloud provider such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, Oracle Cloud and Alibaba Cloud. In a BYOL arrangement, a customer purchases a software license from us through our channel partners and deploys the software in a cloud provider’s environment. Similarly, customers may purchase such a license from us and deploy in their private cloud.

Typically, our customers purchase our hardware products and software licenses, as well as our FortiGuard security subscription and FortiCare technical support services. We generally invoice at the time of our sale for the total price of the products and security and technical support services. The invoice is typically payable within 30 to 45 days. We also invoice certain services on a monthly basis.

Key Metrics

We monitor a number of key metrics, including the key financial metrics set forth below, in order to help us evaluate growth trends, establish budgets, measure the effectiveness of our sales and marketing efforts, and assess operational efficiencies. The following table summarizes revenue, deferred revenue, billings (non-GAAP), net cash provided by operating activities, and free cash flow (non-GAAP). We discuss revenue below under “—Components of Operating Results,” and we discuss net cash provided by operating activities below under “—Liquidity and Capital Resources.” Deferred revenue, billings (non-GAAP), and free cash flow (non-GAAP) are discussed immediately below the following table.

 
Year Ended or As of December 31,
 
2019
 
2018
 
2017
 
(in millions)
Revenue
$
2,156.2

 
$
1,801.2

 
$
1,494.9

Deferred revenue
$
2,135.9

 
$
1,686.8

 
$
1,336.3

Billings (non-GAAP)
$
2,602.9

 
$
2,153.3

 
$
1,795.9

Net cash provided by operating activities
$
808.0

 
$
638.9

 
$
594.4

Free cash flow (non-GAAP)
$
715.8

 
$
585.9

 
$
459.1

    
Deferred revenue. Our deferred revenue consists of amounts that have been invoiced but that have not yet been recognized as revenue. The majority of our deferred revenue balance consists of the unrecognized portion of service revenue from FortiGuard security subscription and FortiCare technical support service contracts, which is recognized as revenue ratably over the contractual service period. We monitor our deferred revenue balance, deferred revenue growth and the mix of short-term and long-term deferred revenue because deferred revenue represents a significant portion of free cash flow and of revenue to be recognized in future periods. Deferred revenue was $2.14 billion as of December 31, 2019, an increase of $449.1 million, or 27%, from December 31, 2018.

Billings (non-GAAP). We define billings as revenue recognized in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles in the United States (“GAAP”) plus the change in deferred revenue from the beginning to the end of the period and adjustments to the deferred revenue balance due to adoption of Financial Accounting Standards Board (“FASB”) Topic 606, Revenue from Contracts with Customers (“Topic 606”), less any deferred revenue balances acquired from business combination(s) during the period. We consider billings to be a useful metric for management and investors because billings

46


drive current and future revenue, which is an important indicator of the health and viability of our business. There are a number of limitations related to the use of billings instead of GAAP revenue. First, billings include amounts that have not yet been recognized as revenue and are impacted by the security and support contractual service period agreements. Second, we may calculate billings in a manner that is different from peer companies that report similar financial measures. Management accounts for these limitations by providing specific information regarding GAAP revenue and evaluating billings together with GAAP revenue. Total billings were $2.60 billion for 2019, an increase of 21% compared to $2.15 billion in 2018.

A reconciliation of revenue, the most directly comparable financial measure calculated and presented in accordance with GAAP, to billings is provided below:

 
Year Ended December 31,
2019
 
2018
 
2017
(in millions)
Billings:
 
 
 
 
 
Revenue
$
2,156.2

 
$
1,801.2

 
$
1,494.9

Add: Change in deferred revenue
449.1

 
350.5

 
301.0

Add: Deferred revenue adjustment due to adoption of Topic 606

 
4.1

 

Less: Deferred revenue balance acquired in business combinations
(2.4
)
 
(2.5
)
 

Total billings (non-GAAP)
$
2,602.9

 
$
2,153.3

 
$
1,795.9


Free cash flow (non-GAAP). We define free cash flow as net cash provided by operating activities minus purchases of property and equipment. We believe free cash flow to be a liquidity measure that provides useful information to management and investors about the amount of cash generated by the business that, after capital expenditures, can be used for strategic opportunities, including repurchasing outstanding common stock, investing in our business, making strategic acquisitions and strengthening the balance sheet. A limitation of using free cash flow rather than the GAAP measures of cash provided by or used in operating activities, investing activities, and financing activities is that free cash flow does not represent the total increase or decrease in the cash and cash equivalents balance for the period because it excludes cash flows from investing activities other than capital expenditures and cash flows from financing activities. Management accounts for this limitation by providing information about our capital expenditures and other investing and financing activities on the face of the consolidated statements of cash flows and under “—Liquidity and Capital Resources” and by presenting cash flows from investing and financing activities in our reconciliation of free cash flow. In addition, it is important to note that other companies, including companies in our industry, may not use free cash flow, may calculate free cash flow in a different manner than we do or may use other financial measures to evaluate their performance, all of which could reduce the usefulness of free cash flow as a comparative measure. A reconciliation of net cash provided by operating activities, the most directly comparable financial measure calculated and presented in accordance with GAAP, to free cash flow is provided below:

 
Year Ended December 31,
2019
 
2018
 
2017
(in millions)
Free Cash Flow:
 
 
 
 
 
Net cash provided by operating activities
$
808.0

 
$
638.9

 
$
594.4

Less: Purchases of property and equipment
(92.2
)
 
(53.0
)
 
(135.3
)
Free cash flow (non-GAAP)
$
715.8

 
$
585.9

 
$
459.1

Net cash used in investing activities
$
(502.3
)
 
$
(134.9
)
 
$
(76.8
)
Net cash used in financing activities
$
(195.6
)
 
$
(202.6
)
 
$
(415.6
)

Components of Operating Results

Revenue. We generate the majority of our revenue from sales of our hardware and software products and amortization of amounts included in deferred revenue related to previous sales of FortiGuard security subscription and FortiCare technical support services. We also recognize revenue from cloud security solutions, professional services and training.


47


Our total revenue is comprised of the following:

Product revenue. Product revenue is primarily generated from sales of our appliances. The majority of our product revenue has been generated by our FortiGate product line, and we do not expect this to change in the foreseeable future. Product revenue also includes revenue derived from sales of fabric hardware and software products, including FortiGate software licenses. As a percentage of total revenue, we expect that our product revenue may vary from quarter-to-quarter based on certain factors, as discussed below under “—Quarterly Results of Operations,” and we expect the trend to continue in 2020.

Service revenue. Service revenue is generated primarily from FortiGuard security subscription services and FortiCare technical support services. We recognize revenue from FortiGuard security subscription and FortiCare technical support services over the contractual service period. Our typical contractual support and subscription term is one to three years and, to a lesser extent, five years. We also generate a small portion of our revenue from professional services and training services, for which we recognize revenue as the services are provided, and cloud-based services, for which we recognize revenue as the services are delivered or on a monthly usage basis. As a percentage of total revenue, we continue to expect service revenue to be higher than product revenue. Our service revenue growth rate depends significantly on the growth of our customer base, the expansion of our service bundle offerings, the expansion and introduction of new service offerings and the renewal of service contracts by our existing customers.

Our total cost of revenue is comprised of the following:

Cost of product revenue. The majority of the cost of product revenue consists of third-party contract manufacturers’ costs and the costs of materials used in production. Our cost of product revenue also includes supplies, shipping costs, personnel costs associated with logistics and quality control, facility-related costs, excess and obsolete inventory costs, warranty costs and amortization of intangible assets. Personnel costs include direct compensation and benefits.

Cost of service revenue. Cost of service revenue is primarily comprised of salaries, benefits and bonuses, as well as stock-based compensation. Cost of service revenue also includes third-party repair and contract fulfillment, data center and cloud hosting, supplies and facility-related costs.

Gross margin. Gross profit as a percentage of revenue, or gross margin, has been and will continue to be affected by a variety of factors, including the average sales price of our products, product costs, the mix of products sold and the mix of revenue between hardware products, software licenses and services and any excess inventory write-offs. Service revenue and software licenses have had a positive effect on our total gross margin given the higher gross margins compared to hardware product gross margins. During 2019, service gross margin benefited from renewals and continued sales of services and subscriptions, growing faster than related expenses. Product gross margin benefited from gains in average selling price, as well as lower direct and indirect product costs as a percentage of product revenue. It also benefited from deal mix, software revenue growth and a stable product transition environment. Cost of product revenue was comprised of direct product costs and indirect costs, including inventory reserves and other manufacturing overhead. Overall gross margin in 2020 will be impacted by service and product revenue mix, but we expect it to be comparable to overall gross margin in 2019.

Operating expenses. Our operating expenses consist of research and development, sales and marketing and general and administrative expenses. Personnel costs are the most significant component of operating expenses and consist primarily of salaries, benefits, bonuses, stock-based compensation, and sales commissions, as applicable. We expect personnel costs to continue to increase in absolute dollars as we expand our workforce.

Research and development. Research and development expense consists primarily of personnel costs. Additional research and development expenses include ASIC and system prototypes and certification-related expenses, depreciation of property and equipment and facility-related expenses. The majority of our research and development is focused on both software development and the ongoing development of our hardware platform. We record all research and development expenses as incurred. Our research and development teams are primarily located in Canada and the United States.

Sales and marketing. Sales and marketing expense is the largest component of our operating expenses and primarily consists of personnel costs. Additional sales and marketing expenses include product marketing, public relations, field marketing and channel marketing programs (e.g. partner cooperative marketing arrangements), as well as travel, depreciation of property and equipment and facility-related expenses. We

48


intend to hire additional personnel focused on sales and marketing and expand our sales and marketing efforts worldwide in order to capture market share in the enterprise market.

General and administrative. General and administrative expense consists of personnel costs, as well as professional fees, depreciation of property and equipment and software and facility-related expenses. General and administrative personnel include our executive, finance, human resources, information technology and legal organizations. Our professional fees principally consist of outside legal, auditing, accounting, tax, information technology and other consulting costs.

Interest income—net. Interest income—net consists of interest earned on our cash, cash equivalents and investments. We have historically invested our cash in corporate debt securities, certificates of deposit and term deposits, commercial paper, money market funds, and U.S. government and agency securities.

Other income (expense)net. Other income (expense)—net consists primarily of foreign exchange gains and losses related to foreign currency remeasurement, as well as the gain on the sale of an investment in a privately held company and the impairment charge on an investment in a privately held company.

Provision for (benefit from) income taxes. We are subject to income taxes in the United States, as well as other tax jurisdictions or countries in which we conduct business. Earnings from our non-U.S. activities are subject to income taxes in local countries and may be subject to U.S. income taxes. Our effective tax rate differs from the U.S. statutory rate primarily due to foreign income subject to different tax rates than in the U.S., nondeductible stock-based compensation expense, federal research and development tax credit, state taxes, withholding taxes, excess tax benefits related to stock-based compensation expense and the tax impacts of the 2017 Tax Act.

Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates

Our discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations are based upon our financial statements, which have been prepared in accordance with GAAP. These principles require us to make estimates and judgments that affect the reported amounts of assets, liabilities, revenue, cost of revenue and expenses, and related disclosures. We base our estimates on historical experience and on various other assumptions that we believe to be reasonable under the circumstances. To the extent that there are material differences between these estimates and our actual results, our future financial statements will be affected.

We believe that, of the significant accounting policies described in Note 1 to our consolidated financial statements included in Part II, Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, the following accounting policies involve a greater degree of judgment and complexity. Accordingly, we believe these are the most critical to fully understand and evaluate our financial condition and results of operations.

Revenue Recognition

On January 1, 2018, we adopted Topic 606, Revenue from Contracts with Customers, using the modified retrospective method applied to those contracts which were not completed as of January 1, 2018. Results for reporting periods beginning after January 1, 2018 are presented under Topic 606, while prior period amounts are not adjusted and continue to be reported under ASC Topic 605 (“Topic 605”), Revenue Recognition.

Beginning in 2018, revenues are recognized when control of goods or services is transferred to our customers, in an amount that reflects the consideration we expect to be entitled to in exchange for those goods or services. Prior to 2018, revenue was recognized under Topic 605 when all of the following criteria were met: (i) persuasive evidence of an arrangement existed, (ii) delivery has occurred or services have been rendered, (iii) sales price was fixed or determinable and (iv) collectability was reasonably assured.

Under Topic 606, we determine revenue recognition through the following steps:

identification of a contract or contracts with a customer;
identification of the performance obligations in a contract, including evaluation of performance obligations as to being distinct goods or services in a contract;
determination of a transaction price;
allocation of a transaction price to the performance obligations in a contract; and
recognition of revenue when, or as, we satisfy a performance obligation.

49



Our sales contracts typically contain multiple deliverables, such as hardware, software license, security subscription, technical support services and other services, which are generally capable of being distinct and accounted for as separate performance obligations. We evaluated the criteria to be distinct under Topic 606 and concluded that the hardware and software licenses were distinct and distinct in the context of a contract from the security subscription and technical support services, as a customer can benefit from the hardware and software licenses without the services and the services are separately identifiable within a contract. We allocate a transaction price to each performance obligation based on relative standalone selling price. If not observable through past transactions, we determine standalone selling price based on the historical pricing and discounting practices for those services when sold separately. We determine standalone selling price for a product or service by considering multiple historical factors including, but not limited to, cost of products, gross margin objectives, pricing practices, geographies and the term of a service contract that fall within a reasonably range as a percentage of list price.

Under the previous standard, Topic 605, revenue from contracts that contain products and services is allocated to each unit of accounting based on an estimated selling price using vendor-specific objective evidence (“VSOE”) of selling price, if it existed, or third-party evidence (“TPE”) of selling price. If neither VSOE nor TPE of selling price existed for a deliverable, we used our best estimate of selling price for that deliverable. For multiple-element arrangements where software deliverables were included, revenue was allocated to the non-software deliverables and to the software deliverables as a group using the relative estimated selling prices of each of the deliverables in an arrangement based on the estimated selling price hierarchy. The amount allocated to the software deliverables was then allocated to each software deliverable using the residual method when VSOE of fair value existed. If evidence of VSOE of fair value of one or more undelivered elements did not exist, all software allocated revenue was deferred and recognized when delivery of those elements occurred or when fair value was established. When the undelivered element for which we did not have VSOE of fair value was support, revenue for the entire arrangement was recognized ratably over the support period. The same residual method and VSOE of fair value principles applied for our multiple element arrangements that contained only software elements.

Deferred Contract Costs and Commission Expense

Beginning in 2018, we recognized commission expense based on Topic 606’s guidance for contract costs. Under this new guidance, we recognize sales commissions related to product sales upfront while sales commissions for service contracts are deferred as deferred contract costs in the consolidated balance sheets and amortized over the applicable amortization period. Costs for initial contracts that are not commensurate with renewal commissions are amortized on a straight-line basis over the period of benefit, which we have determined to be five years and which is typically longer than the initial contract term. Significant estimates, assumptions, and judgments in accounting for deferred contract costs include, but are not limited to, identification of contract costs, anticipated billings and the expected period of benefit.

Valuation of Inventory

Inventory is recorded at the lower of cost or net realizable value. Cost is computed using the first-in, first-out method. In assessing the ultimate recoverability of inventory, we make estimates regarding future customer demand, the timing of new product introductions, economic trends and market conditions. If the actual product demand is significantly lower than forecasted, we could be required to record inventory write-downs which would be charged to cost of product revenue. Any write-downs could have an adverse impact on our gross margins and profitability.

Business Combinations

We include the results of operations of the businesses that we acquire as of the respective dates of acquisition. We allocate the fair value of the purchase price of our business acquisitions to the tangible and intangible assets acquired and liabilities assumed based on their estimated fair values. The excess of the purchase price over the fair values of these identifiable assets and liabilities is recorded as goodwill. We often continue to gather additional information throughout the measurement period, and if we make changes to the amounts recorded, such changes are recorded in the period in which they are identified.

Contingent Liabilities

From time to time, we are involved in disputes, litigation and other legal actions. However, there are many uncertainties associated with any litigation, and these actions or other third-party claims against us may cause us to incur substantial settlement charges, which are inherently difficult to estimate and could adversely affect our results of operations. We review significant new claims and litigation for the probability of an adverse outcome. Estimates can change as individual

50


claims develop. The actual liability in any such matters may be materially different from our estimates, which could result in the need to adjust our liability and record additional expenses.

Accounting for Income Taxes

We record income taxes using the asset and liability method, which requires the recognition of deferred tax assets and liabilities for the expected future tax consequences of events that have been recognized in our financial statements or tax returns. In addition, deferred tax assets are recorded for the future benefit of utilizing net operating losses and research and development credit carryforwards. Deferred tax assets and liabilities are measured using the currently enacted tax rates that apply to taxable income in effect for the years in which those tax assets and liabilities are expected to be realized or settled. Valuation allowances are provided when necessary to reduce deferred tax assets to the amount expected to be realized.

We recognize tax benefits from an uncertain tax position only if it is more likely than not, based on the technical merits of the position that the tax position will be sustained on examination by the tax authorities. The tax benefits recognized in the financial statements from such positions are then measured based on the largest benefit that has a greater than 50% likelihood of being realized upon ultimate settlement.

Effective January 1, 2018, the 2017 Tax Act reduced the federal corporate income tax rate from 35% to 21% and created a territorial tax system with a one-time transition tax on foreign earnings of U.S. subsidiaries not previously subject to U.S. income tax. Our selection of an accounting policy for 2018 with respect to the Global Intangible Low-Taxed Income (“GILTI”) tax rules was to treat GILTI tax as a current period expense under the period cost method. For 2019, we were not subject to GILTI. We will continue to monitor and assess the impact of the 2017 Tax Act and ongoing guidance and accounting interpretations issued in response to the 2017 Tax Act.

As part of the process of preparing our consolidated financial statements, we are required to estimate our taxes in each of the jurisdictions in which we operate. We estimate actual current tax exposure together with assessing temporary differences resulting from differing treatment of items, such as accruals and allowances not currently deductible for tax purposes. These differences result in deferred tax assets, which are included in our consolidated balance sheets. In general, deferred tax assets represent future tax benefits to be received when certain expenses previously recognized in our consolidated statements of income become deductible expenses under applicable income tax laws, or loss or credit carryforwards are utilized.

In assessing the realizability of deferred tax assets, management considers whether it is more likely than not that some portion or all of the deferred tax assets will be realized. The ultimate realization of deferred tax assets is dependent upon the generation of future taxable income during the periods in which those temporary differences become deductible. We continue to assess the need for a valuation allowance on the deferred tax assets by evaluating both positive and negative evidence that may exist. Any adjustment to the valuation allowance on deferred tax assets would be recorded in the consolidated statements of income for the period that the adjustment is determined to be required.


51


Results of Operations

The following tables set forth our results of operations for the periods presented and as a percentage of our total revenue for those periods. The period-to-period comparison of financial results is not necessarily indicative of financial results to be achieved in future periods.

 
Year Ended December 31,
 
2019
 
2018
 
2017
 
(in millions)
Consolidated Statements of Income Data:
 
 
 
 
 
Revenue:
 
 
 
 
 
Product
$
788.5

 
$
674.4

 
$
577.2

Service
1,367.7

 
1,126.8

 
917.7

Total revenue
2,156.2

 
1,801.2

 
1,494.9

Cost of revenue:
 
 
 
 
 
Product
324.6

 
291.0

 
243.8

Service
181.3

 
159.4

 
141.5

Total cost of revenue
505.9

 
450.4

 
385.3

Gross profit:
 
 
 
 
 
Product
463.9

 
383.4

 
333.4

Service
1,186.4

 
967.4

 
776.2

Total gross profit
1,650.3

 
1,350.8

 
1,109.6

Operating expenses:
 
 
 
 
 
Research and development
277.1

 
244.5

 
210.6

Sales and marketing
926.9

 
782.3

 
701.0

General and administrative
102.1

 
93.0

 
87.9

Restructuring charges

 

 
0.3

Total operating expenses
1,306.1

 
1,119.8

 
999.8

Operating income
344.2

 
231.0

 
109.8

Interest income—net
42.5

 
26.5

 
13.5

Other income (expense)—net
(7.5
)
 
(6.6
)
 
0.7

Income before income taxes
379.2

 
250.9

 
124.0

Provision for (benefit from) income taxes
52.7

 
(81.3
)
 
92.6

Net income
$
326.5

 
$
332.2

 
$
31.4



52


 
Year Ended December 31,
2019
 
2018
 
2017
(as percentage of revenue)
Revenue:
 
 
 
 
 
Product
37
 %
 
37
 %
 
39
%
Service
63

 
63

 
61

Total revenue
100

 
100

 
100

Cost of revenue:
 
 
 
 
 
Product
15

 
16

 
16

Service
8

 
9

 
9

Total cost of revenue
23

 
25

 
26

Gross margin:
 
 
 
 
 
Product
59

 
57

 
58

Service
87

 
86

 
85

Total gross margin
77

 
75

 
74

Operating expenses:
 
 
 
 
 
Research and development
13

 
14

 
14

Sales and marketing
43

 
43

 
47

General and administrative
5

 
5

 
6

Restructuring charges

 

 

Total operating expenses
61

 
62

 
67

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