Cyber security giant Norton has bought Avast for a reported $8billion. And whilst that’s big news for shareholders and the money markets, here At Home Computers, the more pressing issue is “What happens to the users of these products”?
Norton Buys Avast.
Both Norton and Avast have been around for many years. And both companies produce a variety of security software. But it’s the anti-virus products where most of us will have come into contact with them.
It’s estimated that Norton is the most used third-party antivirus in the world. And just behind Norton, the second most used is Avast. In buying Avast, Norton has taken out their biggest competitor.
Free Vs Paid Anti Virus.
For us users, it’s not as simple as one company buying out another. That happens all the time. The real issue is the two companies differing business models.
Norton is a paid-for premium antivirus. It has never offered its software for free. The best you could ever get was a time-limited trial. Even then you must create an account and offer up your credit/debit card number.
Whereas Avast has built a huge user base by offering a completely free version of its antivirus software. And although they do use this to promote their paid for, premium products, it’s a small price to pay for the protection they offer.
So the big question is, now that Norton has bought Avast, what will happen to good, free antivirus?
Has Free Anti Virus Had Its Day.
It is possible that the days when you could install a decent anti-virus product for free are coming to an end.
If Avast does indeed disappear into the Norton fold, then where does that leave us?
Traditionally, Windows has been completely useless at protecting itself, from XP through Vista, 7 and 8, you’ve always needed to install third-party anti-virus programs.
Here At Home Computer, I’ve recommended the use of either Norton, if you’re willing to pay for protection, or Avast if you’re not. And whilst neither company nor products are perfect, they are simply best in class.
The difference between the level of protection that you get from Avast and any other free third party product is huge. So much so that I have a guide here for installing Avast How To Install Avast Free AntiVirus
If Avast does disappear as a free antivirus, it’ll leave a big hole in the market.
But What About AVG?
Many of you might be wondering about AVG free antivirus. Unfortunately for us, Avast bought AVG in 2016.
And although what you may think of as being AVG.
If you delve a little deeper you’ll see that it is in fact Avast underneath.
All of this means that when Norton bought out Avast, they also acquired AVG.
Every paid for Anti Virus company enrols users into Auto Renewal schemes. At the end of the licence period (typically a year), you’re licence automatically renews, and you’re charged the going rate. They all do this.
Double check how much you’re being charge to renew you’re Norton licence. $8 billion is a whole lot of cash and I’m pretty certain we’re all going to be expected to chip in.
You can normally expect to recieve an email informing you of the renewal cost around a month before it’s due. So keep an eye open for it and make sure to check your junk/spam folder.
Remember that there are alternatives if you decide that you’re being asked to pay too much.
If you’re using the free version of either Avast or AVG, I don’t think you have much to worry about for the time being. What exactly will happen to these free versions remains to be seen, but you might end up having to move elsewhere.
If you’re using any of the paid for, premium products, then you also need to check your emails for renewal notifications.
Whilst it’s fair to expect Norton to honour existing contracts, once those licences expire, you’ll be moved into the Norton fold.
Windows Defender – A Ray Of Hope?
Windows Defender started life in Windows 8. Over the years it has grown and matured to the point that it can be thought of as a “proper” antivirus. Not great, by any means, but possibly enough for most of us, most of the time.
And now that Norton has gone and bought Avast, we’re going to need something that works, but doesn’t require a credit/debit card.
Defender has closed the gap between what Windows can do to protect itself, and what you can get from free protection.
Now that Norton has bought Avast, Microsoft needs to up the levels of protection that Windows Defender offers.
With the imminent launch of Windows 11, Microsoft has a very real opportunity to finally offer an operating system that is capable of protecting both itself and its users. A totally integrated system fit for the 21st century.