Today I have been mostly watching Symantec launch Norton Internet Security 2009 in a lovely hotel in Madrid. Tough gig.
Symantec's big idea? Smaller footprint, faster scanner. Haven't I heard that somewhere before..?
This year, the company thinks it's cracked it, however. No it really does. In 2009, Norton is going to be fast. It's got 300 speed tweaks. And Norton's serious: the marketeers used pictures of racing cars and space rockets to preface the launch. And flashing lights. The lot.
Then they showed us some impressive-looking statistics. According to various third parties, you see, NIS 2009 is the fastest, lightest most securest net nanny there is. Well, it is now. But then, most rivals haven't yet updated their suites, and I know folk at a certain Scottish-sounding security company who are confident their product will be faster. We'll see.
What is without dispute interesting is Symantec's choice of resource de-hogger. Unlike smaller companies such as Kaspersky who take a layered approach to security - using a series of resource-lite tools such as behavioural analysis before reaching for the signature sledgehammer - Symantec is using its one undoubted advantage: a huge userbase. Leveraging all those individual computers to share scan results is smart thinking. And something only Symantec and McAfee can really do, with all due respect to smaller rivals. Will it work? Again, watch this space. We'll be reviewing NIS 2009 just as soon as we properly can.
Of course, Symantec doesn't really have to compete against rival companies today. Financial clout makes its route to market so clear, and its userbase so vast, that all it really has to do is improve on last year's effort to keep its customer base happy. To lots of less tech savvy users, Norton is PC Security. It's, you know, the yellow box you buy at PC World.
But not to younger, more tech savvy users who know how to hunt down tools online, and who aren't happy to pay a massive fifty quid for internet security. All of which makes Symantec's purchase of lightweight, inexpensive, web-based Aussie security software vendor PC Tools seem like a no brainer. And just to be clear, I am 100% available to go to Australia for Symantec's first PC Tools launch...