CUPERTINO, Calif. ( TheStreet) -- Security software specialist Symantec ( SYMC) missed analysts' first-quarter sales and profit estimates, as customers focused their attention on short-term contracts.

The Cupertino, Calif.-based firm brought in sales of $1.43 billion in the quarter, down from $1.65 billion in the same period last year, and below its own guidance of $1.45 billion.

Adjusted for currency and the extra week in the firm's fiscal first quarter, however, Symantec's revenue came in at $1.44 billion, although this was still below Wall Street's forecast. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had expected Symantec to post revenue of $1.49 billion.

Confronted with heightened competition and a tough economy, Symantec said that customer buying patterns have changed.

"On the enterprise side, the customers are spending on shorter-term contracts, and that did result in some reduced new license revenue," Symantec CEO Enrique Salem told TheStreet.com in an interview. " But our earnings came in within our guided range because we did a lot of expense management, and we expect that to continue."

Including a 3-cent benefit from the extra week, Symantec earned 34 cents a share on net income of $285 million, down from 40 cents a share and $342 million in the prior year's quarter, but in line with the low end of the company's guidance. Analysts, however, had forecast earnings of 35 cents a share.

On a diluted basis, Symantec earned 9 cents a share on net income of $73 million, down from 20 cents a share and $170 million in the prior year's quarter.

Symantec, which competes with McAfee ( MFE), Microsoft ( MSFT) and ArcSight ( ARST), is enjoying strong demand for its consumer products, according to Salem.

"The consumer products did well in the quarter," he said, explaining that consumer revenue grew 6% year over year, adjusted for currency.

On a GAAP basis, the software specialist expects revenue between $1.395 billion and $1.445 billion, and earnings between 14 cents a share and 16 cents a share. On a diluted basis, Symantec's sales guidance is between $1.4 billion and $1.45 billion and the firm expects earnings between 32 cents a share and 34 cents a share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had forecast revenue of $1.5 billion and earnings of 36 cents a share.

Symantec shares plunged $1.34, or 7.77%, to $15.90 in extended trading.

Reported by James Rogers in New York

If you liked this article you might like

A Major Top Formation Continues to Unfold for Symantec

A Major Top Formation Continues to Unfold for Symantec

Hormel Foods, Baidu.com, Palo Alto Networks: 'Mad Money' Lightning Round

Hormel Foods, Baidu.com, Palo Alto Networks: 'Mad Money' Lightning Round

Investors Can't Get Enough: Cramer's 'Mad Money' Recap (Thursday 1/18/18)

Investors Can't Get Enough: Cramer's 'Mad Money' Recap (Thursday 1/18/18)

What Apple's Cash Repatriation Means for Microsoft's Investors

What Apple's Cash Repatriation Means for Microsoft's Investors

Why These Tech Companies Could Become Private Equity Targets in 2018

Why These Tech Companies Could Become Private Equity Targets in 2018