Commentary: Does anyone like Norton Antivirus?

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Commentary: Does anyone like Norton Antivirus?

Five years ago, I asked if anybody liked using Norton Antivirus and the response from readers was an overwhelming 'no'.

Since that time, Symantec has completely rewritten the software and claims to have addressed many of its customers' concerns.

So today I'm throwing it over to you - has your experience of Norton Antivirus changed?

On Friday, I spent some time chatting to John Harrison, a product manager for Symantec Security Response. He diplomatically admitted that previous versions of Norton AV were resource hungry and inefficient and said the company was fighting an uphill battle to prove to customers that Symantec had changed it ways.

"A lot of people still think of our products from three or four years ago where [Norton AV] may not have been the fastest thing," said Harrison. "The installation time of Norton 2009 and Norton 2010 alone is a sign. It used to take ten or 15 minutes to install. I installed Norton 2009 last year in about one minute 30 seconds, and the Norton 2010 product is faster".

According to Gartner, Symantec remains the global market leader in security software but its share fell from 24.4 percent in 2007 to 22 percent last year. McAfee and Trend Micro's market share remained virtually flat, with 10.09 percent and seven percent of the market respectively.

Harrison knows user perception will take some time to change and although the company's product may have improved, its mantra remains the same: "I think for any user that has a negative perception, get the latest version and really give it a try," he said.

Like many other software companies with a strong brand and large market share, Symantec has focused on annually incrementing Norton AV's effectiveness and features.

Around the same time, the people developing malware have evolved from online vandals into hard-core criminals who had discovered there was lots of money to be made from infecting PCs. Unlike the traditional software industry, they have been concentrating on creating slick, efficient and effective software.

Symantec's Harrison explained that the company's change of direction was led by senior vice president of consumer products Rowan Trollope, who urged development teams to think about the way customers interact with their security software instead of blindly adding new features and functionality.

"Rowan got us looking at the real world perspective, I think that got us to be smart about the capabilities we were putting under the hood - less being more. Rewriting Norton from scratch to do that was painful," said Harrison.

I think it's time to ask you again: Does anyone like (the new) Norton Antivirus?

Do you trust Symantec and Norton to protect your PCs? Have you noticed the change in Norton over the past few years? Do you plan on buying Norton 2010?


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