August 29, 2006 9:59 AM PDT

More security bang for fewer bucks

Consumers now are getting more for less of their money when they buy security software.

Microsoft's entry into the consumer security software arena in late May has made PC protection cheaper, according to data from The NPD Group. At the same time, security products are becoming more comprehensive, analysts said.

"Microsoft is really shaking up this whole market in terms of pricing," said NPD analyst Chris Swenson. Moreover, with Windows Live OneCare Microsoft has also challenged the bundling strategy of its competitors, forcing them to add features instead of selling them separately, he said.

Average retail prices for security suites and PC care packages hit a two-year low in July at $54.57, and the pricing trend continues downward, according to NPD data compiled late last week. With Microsoft's entry, stalwarts Symantec and McAfee have to beef up their products and will have a tougher time selling them at a premium, analysts said.

The introduction of OneCare heightened the battle for consumers' security dollars. There's a lot at stake. Last year, the worldwide market for consumer antivirus software reached $1.95 billion, up 17 percent year-over-year, according to research from Gartner. Symantec dominated the space, taking 70 percent of the pie.

OneCare

So far, OneCare has made a splash. The product held the No. 2 spot in sales of security suites at U.S. stores in June and July, the first two full months that it was available, according NPD data. OneCare is by far the cheapest option, with an average retail price of $34.02 in July, versus $60.93 for Symantec's security suite and $63.24 for McAfee's suite software.

"I expected a lot more market share gain (by Microsoft), to be honest. It has been pretty pathetic."
--Bari Abdul, McAfee

"Microsoft is entering the market with a bang. They are significantly cheaper than their competitors and will gain market share," said Natalie Lambert, an analyst with Forrester Research. "It will bring down pricing, no doubt, and Microsoft has also caused companies such as McAfee to offer multiple tiers of protection."

Microsoft is not always successful when it enters new markets. Intuit, for example, still leads in small-business accounting, a market Microsoft entered last September with its Small Business Accounting Software 2006. However, Microsoft should be taken seriously in security, Swenson said. "I think they got the mix right," he said.

List retail price
Windows Live OneCare $49.95 for up to three PCs per year
Symantec Norton Internet Security Suite $69.99 (single PC)/$119.99 (three PCs)*
McAfee Internet Security Suite $69.99 (single PC)/ $89.99 (three PCs)*

*McAfee updated its products in August; it previously charged $139.99 for three PCs.

Sources: Company Web sites

Microsoft's security focus
Often chided for the lack of security in its products, Microsoft has been working for nearly five years to improve its security posture. The company has made several high-profile security hires and with OneCare is now selling a product to secure Windows PCs, an area it previously left to others.

OneCare hit U.S. store shelves in late May, three years after Microsoft announced its intent to move into the antivirus realm. The product combines antivirus, anti-spyware and firewall software with backup features and several tune-up tools for Windows PCs.

In the wake of OneCare's announcement, Symantec and McAfee are both bundling more functionality than ever into their products to make them more appealing.

McAfee earlier this month released a new family of products and for the first time included a safe Web search feature, a firewall, and PC maintenance tools in VirusScan Plus, its most basic variant, with a list price of $39.99.

CONTINUED: The competition responds…
Page 1 | 2

See more CNET content tagged:
NPD Group Inc., retail price, McAfee Inc., pricing, Symantec Corp.

57 comments

Join the conversation!
Add your comment
Just what we need...
Security on the cheap...
Posted by umbrae (1073 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Security on the cheap
If you want security on the cheap - get a Mac. OSX is totally
secure (Zero viruses - yes Nil in the wild) and does not need
anything from Microsoft, Symantec, McAfee or anyone else for
that matter.
Oh and by the way - shouldn't Microsoft be offering their
security suite for free since its their bloated, buggy, insecure OS
thats the problem anyway?
Posted by Europodboy (298 comments )
Link Flag
More Security Bang For ZERO Bucks..!!!
That's right.. ZERO BUCKS..!! Gezz.. you could have got a Mac..!!
ROFL..!!
Posted by imacpwr (456 comments )
Reply Link Flag
MS Security? Sure and Chales Manson for Police Commissioner
Anyone who would buy a security product from Microsoft would buy meat from Jeffrey Dahmer.

Roberto
Posted by Sumatra-Bosch (526 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You want security - change your OS
Dump Microsoft - get either a Linux distro or a Mac (or Xserve). Now you don't have to fret about choosing Symantec or Microsoft for security and get the most bang for your security and productivity buck.
Posted by kakman1 (50 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Symantec abusing customers for YEARS! Kill 'em off.
It is about time that someone lights a fire under Symantec. For years their products have become slower, buggier, bulkier, and more expensive. For the most part their yearly "updates" are the exact same offerings as the previous year, but with new graphics (which take up more memory) and a new date stamped on the box. Word on the street is that the Norton 2007 products coming out in September will be more of the same: A new user interface and a bunch of graphics, with no new underlying functionality.

Enter Microsoft. A lower pricepoint, more stable product offering, and more sensible user interface should inject some sensibility into Symantec. Symantec has been allowed to take advantage of consumers with their sub-par offerings for YEARS... STOP THE MADNESS!!
Posted by The Harper (41 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Symantec abusing customers for YEARS! Kill 'em off.
Agreed! NAV-05 and NPF-05 are fine, if overpriced, but I wouldn't touch their bloatware suite, or their 06 stuff, or any future Symantec product.

In addition, Symantec works really hard to cheat their customers out of legitimate rebates.
Posted by john55440 (1020 comments )
Link Flag
SHORT TERM gains for consumers!
In the end the Microsoft's one-time-partners will be put out of
business and the employees laid off because the profit margins
needed to compete with FREE/BUNDLED software will disappear.

We've seen this over and over and over again.
Posted by technewsjunkie (1265 comments )
Reply Link Flag
True.
One care and the Plays-for-sure fiasco beg the question: Why
partner with Microsoft at all? It's virtually guaranteed that they'll
turn against you at some point. When they do, you had better have
an alternate business plan ready, because competing with a
monopoly is a whole lot different from profiting by their good
graces.
Posted by Macsaresafer (802 comments )
Link Flag
Mac
Only a mac will allow you to run OSX Windows XP and Linux. -
FACT.
Posted by Europodboy (298 comments )
Reply Link Flag
and
people are just rushing out to stores to buy Mac's for this purpose. You should see the lines!

I think I saw the news media down there covering this huge event.

Who really cares.......not many all the numbers prove this to be true.
Posted by Lindy01 (443 comments )
Link Flag
Incentive for fixing the OS?
If Microsoft is making money supplying software that (arguably) corrects holes in their OS, what is the incentive for fixing the OS? Isn't there more profit for them in *not* fixing the OS, and making money on this seconday package?

It's like buying a car, finding out the company knowingly sells cars with bad brakes, and having to pay extra for good brakes.
Posted by dotmatt (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
M$, it's the OS mafia..
Since they've rubbed out the competition M$ can sell you a faulty
OS, a little later another " M$ family member" wants to sell you a
little "protection" so you don't get hurt..
Read this:
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extortion" target="_newWindow">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extortion</a>
makes you wonder if Microsoft isn't breaking the law with their
"protection scheme"
Posted by imacpwr (456 comments )
Link Flag
Why not?
Why do you claim Linux isn't ready? Ubuntu and SuSE are fine, simple, easy desktop distros, supplying everything I and my family need.
Posted by dotmatt (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Please Kill Symantec
You would trust your security to Microsoft?

Norton is still far better than OneCare Live!
Posted by NoNoBadDog! (13 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Get Linux Instead
First, there are viruses and exploits that affect Linux; it is not bulletproof. While they are far fewer in number, Linux is far from safe.

Second, the average user would find the Linux interface and the experience less than Windows.

It is sad to always hear the inevitable "get *nix* when it has no bearing in a theread like this.

Bobby
Posted by NoNoBadDog! (13 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Pretty good racket here
Just what we need, a company to manufacture an OS and the same company to manufacture fixes for the OS.
Posted by GrandpaN1947 (187 comments )
Reply Link Flag
proves what point..?!?!
At what point did I say Apple approves of the hack..??? Heck, even
Apple supplies us with a hack that we can install M$ XP on a Mac
and they supply absolutely NO Support..!! Why should they..??
Windows isn't part of Apple and pc's aren't Apple computers. Or
were you maybe hoping a pc maker like Dell is going to give you
support for a hack which puts OS X on their machines..??
Posted by imacpwr (456 comments )
Reply Link Flag
oh well.. this was meant for another thread..
must have clicked on reply to subject instead of another thread.
Posted by imacpwr (456 comments )
Link Flag
So What?
Would this be the same MSFT that plans to unbundle IE from Vista? The same company playing kissy kissy with Mozilla? The same company that will code its "CRITICAL WINDOWS/IE AND WINDOWS ONECARE UPDATES" for Vista so that we can install them using Firefox without ActiveX?

The header for this article - all respect, c|net - should've properly been LESS SECURITY BANG FOR MORE BUGS.

The subhead might've been WOULD YOU TRUST THIS COMPANY WITH YOUR SYSTEM SECURITY?

The sub-subhead might've been HEY! SHOULDN'T MICROSOFT PAY US TO USE WINDOWS ONECARE LIVE??

And BTW why do we care exactly if MSFT steals market share from SYMC? No way on heaven or earth Windows OneCare will push the prices of the leading security suite major players. Sorry to be cynical but all OneCare will do is push down the quality of those security suite providers. This, in turn, will NOT benefit consumers and for that matter anyone who uses computers on earth. Just my two cents.
Posted by i_made_this (302 comments )
Reply Link Flag
If symantix were anti-virus only
With the purchase of Veritas last year, Symantic now has a whole host of Enterprise class products that will provide a meaningful revenue stream even if consumer anti-virus revenues dry up.
Posted by myork_cnet (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
what's left out?
With the trend of comprehensive computer care, mostly centered around protecting you computer from incoming data, where is the inclusion of software to protect your outgoing data? Identity theft happens in a myriad of ways, including interception or snooping of email, which can be prevented with email anti-theft software. Software such as <a href="http://www.essentialsecurity.com/products.htm" target="_blank">Taceo</a> allows a sender to prevent their email from being forwarded or edited, and does much to authenticate email as legitimate.

That sounds like a step towards "healthy"...
Posted by nanarita (6 comments )
Link Flag
What A Joke
And Why do you have to buy??? Why change operating systems, live with a silly Mac Toy. Why??? They create the problems then sell you the fix...

An ISP will be delivering a solution that is ISP based and requires you to do nothing to achieve total and complete security from any PC u r on... even a " we need " Windows" running Mac LOL...

No protection per copy purchased BS either!!!
Protection whenever from wherever, thus ISP based...

Watch... there is another solution coming, an out of the box solution... actually what box ???
Time for new thinking to a very serious problem.Time has arrived...
Posted by Steve Hirst (21 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What are you smoking?
Well........ It sounds like English, but makes no sense whatsoever.
Perhaps you could translate?
Posted by Europodboy (298 comments )
Link Flag
When???
So when is it coming???
Posted by jtannenbaum (4 comments )
Link Flag
translation
Sorry Euro, I have been told I speak Klingon LOL.

Ok think out of the box ...

Everything is on-line at www.notme.com

An ISP connects Point A to Point B right? What if they didnt???

What if an ISP "Fetched" what you wished to see? What it is you wish to purchase???

"Fetch". Point A is the user, Point B the web site desired...

Fetch has its advantages...
1) I can't get a thing from the site I visit, Point B; I'm not there, NotMe
is, NotMe fetched it, scrubbed it and gave me a nice clean safe page... now
point B will know where I go in Point B but will have no clue who I, Point A am...None, its impossible because I am NotMe =) Can u imagine a webmaster looking at his RDNS report NotMe, NotMe ~ ~ ~ ... I do have a twisted sense of
humor LOL.

2) Point A can be anywhere. Home PC's, work Laptop, blackberry, blueberry...
Tin can and string LOL. If I am on the net, I am not me by simply going to
NotMe and surfing just like I normally do, Favorites...everything. NO LEARNING
OR DOING CURVE and as an extra added benefit... No History traces anywhere. Yo (Philadelphia Term ;) History, wherever it is recorded in that PC, Laptop, blackberry, blueberry... tin can and string says www.notme.com/fetch:urlyadda.aspx a expired link, ... anyone who comes by later
and wants to check history, cookies in the PC sending my info wherever...useless. Links. The History... notme, notme... twisted yea
LOL

Identity stolen... NotMe
get tons of spam... NotMe LOL
Virus, Trojans, Worms... NotMe

I think that is English. I know its a US Patent, so realistically I can speak English because the Goverment doesn't seem to understand it =)

Steve Hirst
www.maat.net Internet RnD
Posted by Steve Hirst (21 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Bad idea.
It won't work. It will slow things down and www already stands
for World Wide Wait. What you're really talking about is so-called
'thin computing' where most of the processing and storage is
handled by servers and the user's computer is really just a smart
terminal.

That's been a goal for a lot of techies for a long time and it is
always just a computer generation or two away. Once we have
enough raw power, we'll be able to do it, they say. The problem
is, we'll never have enough raw power. Every time we get faster
computers, we find more uses for them. Faster servers for
example, just get more users, leaving no room for scrubbing
every file AND every piece of data AND every request that comes
through the way you've described.
Posted by Macsaresafer (802 comments )
Link Flag
www.notme.com
so all I have to do is make notme.com my home page and surf from there???
Posted by jtannenbaum (4 comments )
Link Flag
Why buy when
there are PLENTY of FREEWARE programs (some of which are BETTER than the paid ones) to choose from.

And YES, Linux IS looking better and better all the time!!! ;)
Posted by btljooz (401 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Empty threat.
Microsoft won't put out a decent product until they have to, and
that won't be until they see their monopoly slipping away. If
you're still buying from them at this point, you're encouraging
them to keep producing this crap.

So the question is, if Linux is looking better, then why haven't
you switched? The debate in the future will be Linux vs Mac, with
Windows an also ran for people who need legacy software. Until
that happens there will be plenty of viruses, spyware, and other
malware to deal with. People who refuse to stop feeding the MS
gravy train are just holding the rest of us back.
Posted by Macsaresafer (802 comments )
Link Flag
 

Join the conversation

Add your comment

The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Click here to review our Terms of Use.

What's Hot

Discussions

Shared

RSS Feeds

Add headlines from CNET News to your homepage or feedreader.