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Norton Cuts Antivirus Product Line from Nine to One

Bucking the current trend among antivirus software makers to sell multiple versions of similar products, Symantec plans to reduce its line of Norton consumer offerings from nine separate suites to one.

The new product, to be called simply Norton Security, will hit the market Sept. 23 and retail for $80 per year. It replaces Norton Antivirus, Norton Internet Security, Norton 360, Norton 360 Multi-Device, Norton Mobile Security, Norton One, Norton Internet Security for Mac, Norton Antivirus for Mac and Norton Utilities.

"What we realized was we actually ended up confusing a lot of customers," Gerry Egan, senior director of product management at Symantec, told Computerworld.

MORE: Best PC Antivirus Software 2014

Most antivirus software makers sell three tiers of consumer security suites: a basic product typically named "Antivirus Plus," an intermediate one generally called "Internet Security" and a top-tier suite often labeled "Total" or "Premium." Each tops the previous offering with additional features such as firewalls, cloud storage, system optimization, parental controls, spam filters and so on.

Toss in separate products for Mac and Android, then mix and match those into multi-platform suites that cover some or all of a user's various devices, and it's easy to see how Norton could end up with nine separate products that do more or less the same thing.

The unified Norton Security, currently available in beta, eliminates most of those redundancies. Each subscription will cover five separate devices, with online cloud backup costing a bit extra.

"You might bounce throughout the day from a Mac to a mobile to a Windows machine," Egan told CNET. "We want to say to people that you sign up to Norton, it's as simple as that."

Egan also offered a money-back guarantee "if, at the end of the day, we run into [malware] we can't deal with."

However, the unified product line also eliminates Norton's lowest prices. Norton Antivirus for Windows, which may be all some users need, retails for $50 per year for a single machine, and its Mac equivalent is $40. The new Norton Security will be $80, the same price as the intermediate-tier Norton Internet Security. (Norton products can often be found with steep discounts.)

For users with a single computer who don't need parental controls or an extra firewall, or have iPhones and hence have little need for mobile security products, it won't make sense to pay an extra $30 per year for features that won't be used.

Egan told Computerworld that users of older Norton products won't be forced to switch to Norton Security, but gave no hint of how long the older products would continue to receive updates.

Paul Wagenseil is a senior editor at Tom's Guide specializing in security. Follow him at @snd_wagenseil. Follow Tom's Guide at @tomsguide, on Facebook and on Google+.

  • ddg4005
    This makes sense; instead of a dizzying array of offerings you get one product that covers everything. Too bad the $80 price is a bit steep.
    Reply
  • iogbrideau
    Still won't use it. Never detects anything on the computer of people that I know that have Norton. There are far better antiviruses out there.
    Reply
  • Bean007
    The price will hurt them the most.
    Reply
  • IllusionaryInnocence
    Wonder if they'll remove Norton's shitty resource consumption and make it decent...
    Reply
  • dingo07
    The Norton Antivrius-Gaming Version was the best software they made, bring it back Symantec!!! No overhead, no bells and whistles, just background scanning when needed.
    Reply
  • velocityg4
    I couldn't imagine paying any money for an antivirus let alone $80. Avast and AVG are just as good if not better and are free. All the other internet security garbage is just bloat and usually causes more problems than it solves. Even on an Avast install I uncheck all the extra components.

    Also odds are your ISP already offers a free copy of Norton or McAfee. If you want a big name brand.
    Reply
  • nebun
    here is a product that works very, very well and it's free...did i mention that it also uses signatures from bitdefender and avira?......it's called 360 Total Security....can be downloaded for free from safe360.com
    Reply
  • LePhuronn
    What we realized was we actually ended up confusing a lot of customers

    What, by letting customers think they're install virus protection when in fact your product is actually a virus itself?

    Reducing the product line down to a single product is a good idea to assist the lay person, but I still think a single product is 1 too many from Norton.
    Reply
  • sykozis
    Wonder if they'll remove Norton's shitty resource consumption and make it decent...
    You're a little late on that. Norton has been one of the most resource friendly antivirus solutions on the market for several years now.
    Reply
  • ickibar1234
    Wonder if they'll remove Norton's shitty resource consumption and make it decent...
    Yes they did years ago. It's not nearly as bloaty as it once was.
    Reply