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June 9, 2006

AOL enters PC security market

Posted by David Hunter at 11:59 AM ET.

Joris Evers at CNET:

AOL is preparing to enter the security fray with a new software bundle that it plans to market to the general public, not just its subscribers, CNET has learned.

The software, dubbed “Total Care,” is expected to be available to software testers in the coming weeks, a source familiar with AOL’s plans said. The product will include security and PC care features, matching Microsoft’s recently launched Windows Live OneCare product and upcoming products from Symantec and McAfee, this person said.

AOL is not building Total Care by itself. The company has partnered with unnamed third-party security providers for the bundle, the source said.

McAfee will provide technology for at least part of AOL’s Total Care, a person familiar with the product plans said.

Consumers increasingly get their security software from Internet service providers, rather than buying from a store or online, according to Gartner research. Last year, about 14 percent of consumer security software sales came from ISPs, up from barely 5 percent a year before, Gartner said.

“We expect the big brand ISPs and search companies to launch their own security offerings,” said Arabella Hallawell, a Gartner analyst. These will come either from partnerships with established players or from relabeling no-name security products with their own brand, she said.

ISPs can become a threat to security stalwart Symantec, which held more than 70 percent of the consumer security market last year. “Symantec will suffer from not wanting to embrace the ISP channel,” Hallawell said. That’s in addition to losing market share to security newcomer Microsoft.

There’s more on the business aspects from Carlos Bergfeld at Business Week online which seems to be mostly about offsetting declining ISP revenues, but the real trick for the whole industry seems to be to convince consumers that they need such a product:

Still, many consumers have yet to avail themselves of much of what’s out there. A December survey by the National Cyber Security Alliance found that 81% of personal computers lacked at least one of antivirus software, spyware protection, or a firewall.

I’m always amazed when security software usage statistics like these are mentioned since I have used all of the above tools since they were first available for PC’s. Apparently, most people are a tougher sell than I.

Filed under AOL, Coopetition, Microsoft, Symantec, Windows Live, Windows Live OneCare

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One Response to “AOL enters PC security market”

  1. Yahoo and Symantec team up for security package -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] Looks like everybody is jumping into the PC security business. First, Microsoft launched OneCare, then AOL stuck its toe in the water and now it’s Yahoo: Yahoo, in partnership with Symantec, launched an Internet security software suite dubbed Norton Internet Security and designed to protect online users from threats like viruses and spyware, the companies said Tuesday. [...]

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