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Security Software Costs More to Renew Than Buy New

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the helping-the-consumer-choose dept.

Security 164

Matt Whipp writes "In a story I wrote for PCPro, I explore a tip submitted by one of our readers. They pointed out how much more it costs to renew security software, rather than buying it new. In fact it cost less than half the price to buy it new than it does to renew the license because of heavy discounting. He feels a bit cross that, as a loyal customer, he is the one penalized. From the article: 'ZoneAlarm may have tripped up on this discount issue, but it's not alone. It highlights just how cynical companies can be in relying on customers' assumptions that a renewal should be cheaper than buying new. McAfee's Internet Security Suite costs just £24.99 with the current 50 per cent discount. However, should you be fool enough to already be a customer of McAfee, you'll have to pay £39.99 to renew your licence.'"

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Incoming Call (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18209220)

PCPro [...] pointed out how much more it costs to renew security software, rather than buying it new.

Hello? Slashdot? Yes, I have an "Admiral Ackbar" on the line for you. He says it's urgent?

Re:Incoming Call (5, Funny)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 7 years ago | (#18209876)

The call is collect! It's a trap!

Re:Incoming Call (3, Funny)

dr_dank (472072) | more than 7 years ago | (#18211296)

We saw it, all calls prepare to hang up!

Spy Sweeper (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18209254)

Spy Sweeper costs $30 new and $20 renew... that's not SO bad.

sounds like a virus to me (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18209268)

these software packages sounds like viruses to me.

a normal virus:
(1) pay me money or i'll screw up your computer.

an anti-virus:
(1) pay me money and i'll screw up your computer
(2) repeat steps 1 and 2.

Sounds to me... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18209280)

...like the underlying problem in all this is Microsoft software.

Re:Sounds to me... (1)

beckerist (985855) | more than 7 years ago | (#18211050)

How? And how is this possibly insightful? Windows OneCare Live is $49.95 a year for 3 PC's, regardless of whether it's a renewal or new customer. Sounds to ME that Microsoft is one of the ONLY companies doing it correctly! (selling ONLY the service, not the software)

Why buy in the first place? (5, Informative)

Sciros (986030) | more than 7 years ago | (#18209296)

There's so much great free security software out there (Avast, for instance) that for the educated consumer, the price of Norton or McAfee should be a moot point in my opinion. Not to mention that those two products are far more resource intensive than their free counterparts.

I don't know what prices one would be looking at when it comes to commercial version of Avast, or how much actual support contracts cost a company if it wants Norton on say, 1500 desktops. But for the typical consumer, paying for security software is just a waste of money.

As for McAfee's 50% discount, the latest Norton is free with rebates at certain points in the year, so as long as you wait until then to buy it, you can even get Norton free.

Why renew a license when you can just buy a newer release in a store?

Re:Why buy in the first place? (3, Insightful)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 7 years ago | (#18209456)

Avast is not free.
They give home users a free copy as advertising. SOHO technically should pay (though I don't think the police it) and business must pay according to the license agreement.

That said I use Avast and plan on using it at my pipe-dream cyber cafe. It's a good product and fortunately they are a company that "gets it" that the home user market is rife with piracy and really is low (profit(/(work to extract $$) ratio. They aviod the issue by giving it away to home users and charging businesses, which is the way it should be with everything IMHO.
-nB

pipe dream cyber cafe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18210160)

You might want to get a new pipe dream. Wireless and ubiquitious mobile computing devices will eliminate the environment in which the cyber cafe currently eeks out a meager existence. Think of it as an extinction due to global warming, rather than a meteor strike.

Re:pipe dream cyber cafe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18211032)

Most of the net-cafes around here are full of young people playing network games (and yelling at each other). The advantage of having a bunch of PCs networked together in a single room. How is wireless/mobile going to take over that market?

Re:pipe dream cyber cafe (1)

melikamp (631205) | more than 7 years ago | (#18211592)

But you see, it is not really about "cyber", it is all about "pipe dream". In fact, forget about cyber cafe, just pass over that pipe...

Re:Why buy in the first place? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18210866)

They aviod the issue by giving it away to users without server operating systems and charging for server versions, which is the way it should be with everything IMHO.

There, I fixed it for you.

Just because I spent a couple hundred dollars on Windows 2003 Server doesn't mean that I'm using it to make money, or that I can spend $500 for the "server" version of dozens of products that are free or very cheap if installed on Windows XP.

Re:Why buy in the first place? (1)

checkonetwo (904618) | more than 7 years ago | (#18210140)

Not to mention that those two products are far more resource intensive than their free counterparts.
That's how you know they're working.

Re:Why buy in the first place? (1)

ravenfan (1070656) | more than 7 years ago | (#18210152)

Freeware is great when you're a techie but what percentage of the population is that savvy? Not to mention that there is the perception of getting something when you pay for it. When I buy software, I expect that there's some guy in India on the other end of the phone. With freeware I'm SOL.

Re:Why buy in the first place? (1)

dal20402 (895630) | more than 7 years ago | (#18210394)

When I buy software, I expect that there's some guy in India on the other end of the phone. With freeware I'm SOL.

Let me fix that for you:
When I buy software, I expect to be SOL. With freeware I'm SOL.

Seriously, though, I just can't imagine using the unstable, resource-intensive, naggy commercial security products anymore.

Re:Why buy in the first place? (1)

heroofhyr (777687) | more than 7 years ago | (#18210602)

I fix quite a few PCs of coworkers and friends of coworkers for extra money and usually the #1 problem is that the computer is running Windows 98, full of viruses, adware, and all kinds of other crap, and they were under the false impression that the OEM version of Norton that came with their computer 9+ years ago is still protecting them (well, it is, but only from viruses prior to the last definition list). Surprise surprise the last time the virus database was updated was maybe 5 or more years ago. So there are non-technical people with freeware on their computer, even freeware virus products--they're just so nontechnical that they have no idea what got installed, what it does, but are nevertheless afraid to disable it because if they fuck something up they have to pay me again to fix it. I will agree that for many people the fear that they didn't pay for something causes them to become suspicious. My father-in-law went out and spent an assload on MS Office XP just so he can look at e-mail attachments because he was under the assumption that the OpenOffice install I put on his computer for him was doing something illegal and would get him in trouble by opening .doc and .xls files created in Word and Excel. I guess if you have a few hundred euros to waste pointlessly then that's your business, not mine.

Re:Why buy in the first place? (3, Informative)

bendodge (998616) | more than 7 years ago | (#18210208)

Avast's detection is poor compared to AVG Free's according to almost any current review you can find. Nothing compares to Kaspersky though.
http://www.transceiver.co.uk/txt.php?article=52 [transceiver.co.uk]

Re:Why buy in the first place? (2, Informative)

G00F (241765) | more than 7 years ago | (#18210526)

Then that means both suck ass.

My wife had a number of trojans and virus AVG free didn't detect, but the free scan from trentmicro got them and removed them.

Re:Why buy in the first place? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18210584)

>>Why renew a license when you can just buy a newer release in a store?

Opportunity cost. It costs time to buy and re-install. For non-geeks time spent fiddling with a computer is wasted -- if the time wasted has a economic value less than the difference between buying/installing new and renewing then renewing is the way to go. This is true even for professional geeks who want to have a life.

   

McAfee makes what? (2, Insightful)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#18209304)

Can't find any of their products on my workstation. Haven't seen this "norton" people keep talking about.

Decided iptables was more effective than zonealarm [more configurable] too.

Wow, I must be one of those Linux hippies...

Tom

No such thing as a Linux hippy (5, Funny)

spun (1352) | more than 7 years ago | (#18209446)

Wow, I must be one of those Linux hippies...

FreeBSD is like, "Hey, dudes! Come use our free stuff for whatever you like. Just don't forget to thanks us and it's all good."

Linux is like, "You are free to join our collective but you have to contribute if you want to distribute our free stuff. Whatever you contribute becomes part of our free stuff."

See the difference? FreeBSD is for hippies and Linux is for commies. It's a subtle distinction, I know. ;-)

Re:No such thing as a Linux hippy (4, Funny)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#18209566)

Point taken, except the DISTRO is a collection of various OSS licensed gear.

I wouldn't dare contribute to the kernel, I'm only a lowly software developer with 7 years experience and my beard-fu is weak.

Someday I hope to develop even weaker social skills, a long beard and the aptitude to wear a kilt. Then I can be a kernel developer. :-)

Tom

Re:No such thing as a Linux hippy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18209686)

You don't need all that stuff. Self-important teenagers with a lust for name recognition and zero respect for the codebase (and thus no fear of mucking around in the codebase) are also qualified for Linux kernel developer status.

Re:No such thing as a Linux hippy (1)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 7 years ago | (#18210850)

"beard-fu is weak"

Yes grasshopper, but your keyboard is free of stray hairs.

Re:No such thing as a Linux hippy (4, Funny)

jc42 (318812) | more than 7 years ago | (#18209716)

FreeBSD is for hippies and Linux is for commies. It's a subtle distinction, I know. ;-)

And Macs are like "Hey, our stuff is so much more stylish that those other systems." That's why they tell us that Macs are for gays, I guess.

Lessee; I'm typing this on a Mac laptop. On my desktop are the display/kb/mouse attached to my linux box. On its screen are some windows ssh'd to a remote FreeBSD system that I use for part of my development and portability testing, and as a mirror for my web site.

I guess this all must make me a gay, communist hippie.

Please don't tell my wife or employer (or George Bush) ...

Re:No such thing as a Linux hippy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18210932)

That's why they tell us that Macs are for gays, I guess.


You needed someone to tell you that?

Re:No such thing as a Linux hippy (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 7 years ago | (#18210086)

Aye, but it's communism that works because you aren't taking anything away from any contributor in the system. If you take my cow and give it to Yuri, I no longer have a cow. With Linux, as soon as I make a cow, both Yuri AND I can have a cow, and when he makes a horse, we both have horses.

Re:No such thing as a Linux hippy (1)

spun (1352) | more than 7 years ago | (#18210784)

Ah, but what if Yuri is a libertarian objectivist and thinks sharing weakens the herd? What if he wants to make a buck off of you? You are denying him his Natural Right to profit off of others. Without the profit motive, Yuri has no incentive to make a horse in the first place, unless of course he has an itch that only a horse can scratch, but how likely is that? I mean really, what are the chances that thousands of Yuris world wide would all choose to make various barn yard animals and give them away for free?

See? Commies are so unrealistic. ;-)

Re:No such thing as a Linux hippy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18210898)

Everybody has an itch for something

Re:McAfee makes what? (1)

Emetophobe (878584) | more than 7 years ago | (#18209544)

Decided iptables was more effective than zonealarm [more configurable] too.

You ported iptables to Windows? Neato.

Re:McAfee makes what? (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#18209598)

Isn't it obvious? I ported Windows to Linux. :-)

And technically you can use iptables "with" a windows system. It's called running your NAT router on a Linux box. *rolls eyes*

Tom

Re:McAfee makes what? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18210022)

And technically you can use iptables "with" a windows system. It's called running your NAT router on a Linux box. *rolls eyes*

You can also put Linux into a virtual machine (vmware is free), 100% firewall the ethernet connection as far as windows is concerned, use a host-only network with the VM as your internet connection, and then bridge linux to the ethernet and use THAT as a firewall - all on one box. You could probably run the VM on only 128MB since you're only really using the kernel once it's booted & configured.

Re:McAfee makes what? (1)

billcopc (196330) | more than 7 years ago | (#18210258)

You could also post on slashdot pulling half-baked ideas out of your ass. For the virtual machine to be able to reach the internet, its host needs to have internet access as well. You could firewall the crap out of the VM, it won't do squat for the host no matter how you try to route your traffic, since your front line is wide-open.

It's kind of like putting the keyhole on the INSIDE of your door. Anyone can just turn the knob from the outside and waltz in, but YOU need keys to get out of your own damn home.

Virtual Machines, like any other technical innovation, are only as good as the administrator running the show.

Re:McAfee makes what? (1, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18210452)

You could also post on slashdot pulling half-baked ideas out of your ass. For the virtual machine to be able to reach the internet, its host needs to have internet access as well. You could firewall the crap out of the VM, it won't do squat for the host no matter how you try to route your traffic, since your front line is wide-open.

Hello, you are stupid [vmware.com] ! There's actually several implementations of this very idea. It works because vmware will bridge to your network interface.

Virtual Machines, like any other technical innovation, are only as good as the administrator running the show.

Which is why they will help me, but they'll do you no good whatsoever.

Re:McAfee makes what? (1)

zitch (1019110) | more than 7 years ago | (#18210622)

Actually, you *can* get this to work without your host machine having an IP on the web. I've done this at my previous job (Of course, with Linux as both the Host and the Guest). The trick is to have the host machine's Ethernet connection up while bridging the WAN side of the Guest router O.S. to it. In Linux, you can do this without assigning an IP to the WAN side. In Windows, this isn't possible, but I'm sure you can assign a non-existent WAN IP (Using IPs in the 192.168.y.z or 10.x.y.z ranges), and probably firewall that side to make sure. In the end, I had the host system (and all of the other guests and physical machines on the network) actually connect through the net through the LAN side of the router VM! Then again, that was my old job. My new employer was actually willing to pay for a proper router for an office...

Re:McAfee makes what? (1)

MrNiceguy_KS (800771) | more than 7 years ago | (#18210312)

For an easy way to do this, check out the IPCop Virtual machine. http://www.vmware.com/vmtn/appliances/directory/39 1 [vmware.com]

I run a dedicated IPCop box on my home network with the plugin for Dan's Guardian content filtering. (I have a 6-year-old daughter.) Running the VM would hardly be noticeable on a modern PC. My IPCop box is a P2 333Mhz with 64 MB because that's what I had on hand. It will run on a lot less.

Re:McAfee makes what? (1)

Emetophobe (878584) | more than 7 years ago | (#18210346)

You originally compared Zone Alarm to iptables, obviously both are for different operating systems and different markets, yet you decided to mention them in the same sentence. I'm well aware of iptables on a router, I know because I have an old linksys WRT54G with the DD-WRT firmware.. I still wouldn't call that using iptables on Windows, I would call that a Windows box hidden behind a router with iptables.

Re:McAfee makes what? (1)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 7 years ago | (#18209614)

Or a snob

Re:McAfee makes what? (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#18209696)

It seems at least once a day there is an article about this or that not working in Vista. Sure a lot of it is just bullshit postering. But a lot of the complaints are legit. Licensing problems, requirement for resource hogging addons, etc.

It's just funny what people put up with to have an "easy time" with their computer.

To me the computer is a tool, it allows me to develop software, browse the web, watch tv, play games. I've found that I can do this all with Gentoo. Sure I can't play the latest FPS, but if I wanted a PC to play FPSes I'd buy a console. Oh wait, I did. It seems people are willing to go to ridiculous lengths to play games. Get a fucking gameboy, or better yet, go out and have fun.

Sure, I gotta pay redmond cash money, run three different "anti-bad" scanners, buy approved hardware, and upgrade my box every 6 months, but look, I came play Doom 7 with the medium resolution settings!!!!!!!!

Tom

Re:McAfee makes what? (2, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 7 years ago | (#18210358)

Sure, I gotta pay redmond cash money, run three different "anti-bad" scanners, buy approved hardware, and upgrade my box every 6 months, but look, I came play Doom 7 with the medium resolution settings!!!!!!!!

... of course right now, and for the forseeable future*, Duke Nukem Forever plays just as well on a linux box ... :-)

* forseeable future: the sun turns red giant | mutant ants rule us | whatever. Certain terms and contitions may apply. Your mileage may vary. Screen shots are not necessarily representative of the actual game on your hardware. Oops - remove the word "necessarily".

People complained about linux being harder to install than windows as a reason not to switch - that hasn't been true for a long time ...

People complained about lousy hardware support - more hardware is supported than ever before - for example, I can connect to my cell phone without any special software, unlike windows. And stil people don't switch.

People complained that there wasn't a good office suite - OpenOffice works, and will even open docs that Word has mangled beyond repair. And still people don't switch.

"My machine's full of viruses." "Why not use linux?" "How much is the anti-virus software?" "You don't even need an anti-virus." And still people don't switch.

People complain that they "needed" Internet Explorer - and it now works just fine under wine. And still people don't switch.

... and then - "Vista costs how much??? F*ck that, I'm buying a mac!"

Some people won't take free for any price, and in not doing so, they give up their freedom. Go figure.

Re:McAfee makes what? (1)

billcopc (196330) | more than 7 years ago | (#18210882)

Well now don't go overboard bashing the gamers, the main difference between a good work PC and a gaming PC is the graphics card... maybe the sound card if you love Creative Inc that much (I don't). I've got a mostly work PC with a Geforce 7900 thrown in for kicks. But then I also have 4 gigs of ram and a dual core 2.6ghz AMD64. I didn't get all that gear to play Doom, in fact I'd say only 7% of the cost was due to gaming functionality. Every now and then I get a developer who tells me my PC is overkill. Then I flick on the other three monitors, load up the ram disk with my data set and get cracking. By the time the other guy's compiler puked its first error message, I've already gone through 4-5 profiling runs and managed a 400% speed increase. The other guy gets through his 8 hour shift, hasn't written any unit tests, and blames his problems on Java's garbage collection.

It's only overkill if you can't handle that much machine.

Re:McAfee makes what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18210286)

How is this insightful? How does this add any value to the discussion?

Can't find any of their products on my workstation. Haven't seen this "norton" people keep talking about.

I think that's kind of a given here.

Wow, I must be one of those Linux hippies...

If you mean you sound pretentious, yes, I would agree you must be.

once they got you.... (4, Interesting)

mastershake_phd (1050150) | more than 7 years ago | (#18209312)

Lots of companies do this, and they wouldnt do it if it didnt work.

CABLE, PHONE, & INTERNET ONLY $29.99 A MONTH!!!!!!!!*





*first 3 months regular rate of $150 a month applies 4th month and on.

Re:once they got you.... (1)

TurtleBlue (202905) | more than 7 years ago | (#18209800)

Lots of companies do it with service contracts in which case the model makes sense. But this one? Given a choice between "$20 to install or $40 to upgrade", I better have some compelling reason to avoid a new install. And more likely I'll think your software is crap since I can't import my old settings or somesuch thereby forcing me into a more expensive upgrade.

It seems more like preying on ignorance - which is a perfectly legitimate (though somewhat cynical) business model. We'll see about now though - it's for info like this that I come to slashdot and presumably we all warn our parents and relatives "Don't upgrade XXX - buy a new copy, it's cheaper."

Re:once they got you.... (1)

FLEB (312391) | more than 7 years ago | (#18210874)

For that matter, does the old "uninstall, reinstall, run the timer down, repeat" method still work? I had an OEM version of Norton an age ago that worked on that. Of course, there was also the "download the update, set the clock back, install the update, set the clock forward" trick as well. Now, I just use AVG, Pegasus Mail, and intelligence and suspicion.

Is it really screwing you over? (3, Interesting)

ect5150 (700619) | more than 7 years ago | (#18209318)


I'm not so certain this a 'screwing over' loyal customers as much as it is an incentive to give new customers a cheaper opportunity to try service. This trend doesn't apply to software alone but exists in many services (phone, cable TV, etc.)

As companies compete and offer new services, you want them to offer you deals in order to entice you to try their products.

Yeah he needs to get a life (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18209504)

I would like the free NFL Sunday ticket every year with my satellite dish, like they give for new subscribers. But as they say "wish in one hand, crap in the other and see which one fills up first". I don't feel "punished" that its just not going to happen.

Who pays for virus protection? (5, Informative)

singingjim1 (1070652) | more than 7 years ago | (#18209322)

If you have Comcast cable internet McAfee security suite is free. Other ISPs provide security products free of charge as well. Shop for a better ISP, not for a Symantec vendor. Also, it might be a good idea not to click on things you're not sure of and stop surfing for porn so much.

Re:Who pays for virus protection? (1)

Life2Short (593815) | more than 7 years ago | (#18209574)

"stop surfing for porn so much."

Or at least stop surfing it with IE and no firewall.

I've never run anti-virus software on a home PC. What's the point?

I currently have a router firewall, and I don't web surf much with a Windows machine. When I do, I use Firefox. On occasion I'll download Avast and run it, and I have never found a virus yet. By the time the software company releases a patch, and you download and apply it, there's a sporting chance you've been infected already. Then there are the slowdowns associated with the security software. Symantec in particular can bring a relatively robust machine to its knees. I don't do a lot on my PC beside gaming, so resinstalling wouldn't be a big deal if my machine did become infected.

I used to run Virex on my Mac back in the 90s, and it would occasionally catch something, but I dropped that by '95. I guess I'm just lucky not being dependent on MS Windows.

Re:Who pays for virus protection? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18209650)

"stop surfing for porn so much."
 
You must be new here...

Re:Who pays for virus protection? (1)

Emetophobe (878584) | more than 7 years ago | (#18209672)

If you have Comcast cable internet McAfee security suite is free. Other ISPs provide security products free of charge as well. Shop for a better ISP, not for a Symantec vendor. Also, it might be a good idea not to click on things you're not sure of and stop surfing for porn so much.
Why not use AOL while you're at it, I'm sure they have all sorts of security software for you...

Re:Who pays for virus protection? (1)

phoenixwade (997892) | more than 7 years ago | (#18210006)

Me Too!

And pleeeeee send me the latest warez links and nekkid photos of the current hot starlet, and serial numbers for maya as well......

Re:Who pays for virus protection? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18209862)

If you have Comcast cable internet McAfee security suite is free.

And almost worth it.

Re:Who pays for virus protection? (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 7 years ago | (#18210456)

Both my bank (for online banking) and my ISP offer "free" security/antivirus software - which I don't need, since I don't use Windows. Maybe I should ask for a discount/fee reduction?

Or maybe the bank should get a f$cking clue - I can't believe that they're running Windows and Internet Explorer in bank branches in this day and age.

The Cost of Security (1)

woboyle (1044168) | more than 7 years ago | (#18209326)

This sort of drel is why I use and support Clamwin. I would rather make a donation from time to time and use open source (free) software than be held up for ransom by these crooks.

Re:The Cost of Security (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18210216)

Hey, do you think it is cheap to write all of these viruses?

Sounds like nobody knows how to negotiate... (3, Interesting)

cnelzie (451984) | more than 7 years ago | (#18209382)

When our annual contract for NAV comes up every year, I tell the guy on the phone that he is asking for to much money.

    He starts giving me the run around and I say, "Thanks, but no thanks. I am going to seek alternatives to your product, have a nice day."

    That usually drops the price right then and there.

what if they don't sell renewals? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18209384)

I have one odd dedicated system that is very sensitive. The only antivirus software that can be used (long story) is Norton 2001. However, Symantec won't sell you updates (at any price) for Norton 2001. You are forced to upgrade to a more recent version if you want to be current, and in this case I can't upgrade.

Oddly enough, if you install Norton 2001 on a fresh system, it works perfectly, and you get to download updates for a full year from the date of installation (which is the default).

So the updates exist, but Symantec won't sell them.

Bastards.

lol buying security software (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18209390)

[n/t]

Tax Time is a good time for AV software (1)

Aging_Newbie (16932) | more than 7 years ago | (#18209396)

"Everybody" gets tax software, so while they have you, they discount AV software too. So, just get in sync with the low cost and buy new every year. Renewals? Ha!

All of us are not Mullah Nassirudin (5, Interesting)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 7 years ago | (#18209430)

Mullah Nassirudin wanted to learn music, and he enquired the tuition rates. "20 dinars for the first month and 10 dinars a month from the second month" was the quote he got. So the old Mullah said, "I will start from the second month".

If all of us were wise as the Mullah, teaser rates from credit card/mortgage companies, cell phones companies, ISPs etc wont work. But in most parts of the world, inertia rules. Once you accept a monthly bill, then they got you.

fools (1)

ralph1 (900228) | more than 7 years ago | (#18209458)

Chances are your key will quit working if you have to reinstall. Think thats just chance think again. They are bad bad bad people. Dont be a dope your whole life linux rules.

free with rebates, commercial customers screwed (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 7 years ago | (#18209470)

Non-commercial users should never pay for security software in today's market. From free-with-rebate to free-for-home-users to free-with-ISP-services, there's no reason to pay.

Commercial MS-Windows users have fewer options, particularly on Windows Server platforms. Many freebies are limited to "1 per address" or "not for commercial use," and most won't even install or run on Windows Server platforms.

On the plus side, most vendors do have decent discounts for large-volume customers. Small businesses with more don't get those discounts and if they have more than 1 PC per address they have a very limited selection of free-for-business-use security software. There's ClamWin, the built-in Windows security software, and not a lot else.

Re:free with rebates, commercial customers screwed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18209606)

Non-commercial users should never pay for security software in today's market.

Well based on the number of pwned home Windows machines out there, I'm pretty sure most non-commercial users are unwittingly complying (though not quite in the way you meant).

A story about "Quicken" (5, Informative)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 7 years ago | (#18209476)

My wife recently bought a new computer with Windows XP to replace her aging Windows 98 machine and asked me to help with the migration. There was really only one piece of software she wanted to migrate: Quicken. I was brooding over ways and means. When she booted up her new HP machine, she said, "Oh, look! We don't need to worry about it. It comes with Quicken."

On closer inspection, it came with something called Quicken "New User Edition." It did absolutely everything she needed to do with one small exception: it wouldn't import a file from a previous version of Quicken like, for example, the Windows 98 file with five years of our financial life in it.

But fortunately it automatically offered to sell us an upgrade. Of the alternatives on offer was something called "Quicken Deluxe Edition 2006" which could be ours at a special upgrade price of just $39.95. It did many more things than my wife needed to do, but it would import older Quicken files So I shrugged, and said, "Well, gee, I dunno, seems like a lot, I suppose, line of least resistance, what the heck."

But, when she typed in her credit card number and tried to buy it, it popped up the web browser with a message saying yes, we could get Quicken Deluxe 2006, but wouldn't we rather get Quicken Deluxe 2007, which could be ours at a special upgrade price of just $49.95? We looked at each other. My wife says, rather disgusted, "You know, I'm never going to upgrade Quicken again if I can avoid it, so I suppose I should start out with the most recent version." I said, "Yeah, I guess so, but, wait just a minute."

I hurried over to my Mac, which hadn't been contamined with any versions of the Quicken software, and when I went to their website from a virgin machine, it offered me a choice that the browser on her machine had not offered: something called "Quicken Basic," which had exactly the same functionality as "Quicken New User Edition" plus the ability to import older Quicken files. For $19.95. Full price for a brand new purchase, not an upgrade.

In other words, those bastards had not only included an artificially crippled version of Quicken Basic in the HP software offering, which was bad enough, but they deliberately programmed all the auto-update-salesware to hide the cheapest and most appropriate version of the software.

I wish I could tell you that we decided not to buy any version of Quicken, but in the end of course we bought the $19.95 version.

It's things like this that really build long-term customer loyalty. My wife had always had good feelings about Quicken itself and the company that publishes it. Now she still has good feelings about Quicken but she's quite pissed off at Intuit. (And she holds grudges. Believe me.)

Fending off obvious flames... (1)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 7 years ago | (#18209586)

...yeah, I know it isn't security software, but an upgrade that costs 2.5 times as much as buying new seems on topicl

And, no, we didn't buy the Mac version and run it on our PC. I just used the Mac browser to navigate by hand to the PC products page. Once I knew where the $19.95 Basic version was offered, I went back to my wife's PC and located the same page by browsing manually. What was happening was that the Quicken software preloaded on the hard drive takes you automatically to an "upgrade" page which fails to show you your cheapest and most appropriate option. Possibly this isn't pure evil; perhaps it is because "Quicken New User Edition" is really "Quicken Basic Edition" with a key feature crippled, and perhaps the salesware doesn't take account of this and assumes that it makes no sense to migrate from "Basic" to Basic, not realizing that your "Basic" isn't really Basic.

OT - Consider Moneydance. (1)

computersareevil (244846) | more than 7 years ago | (#18210626)

May I humbly suggest you try Moneydance [moneydance.com] ? It will import Quicken files, isn't loaded with bloatware, adware, and spyware, and the developer listens to his customers. It only costs $30. Not only that, but he hasn't charged an upgrade fee since 2004, through three different full-version upgrades! It also runs on almost any platform, including OS/2(!).

I switched from Quicken in 2005 when I dumped Winders for good. It's really very good, even if it is written in Java...

A story about "QuickBooks" (1)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 7 years ago | (#18210484)

I have Quickbooks 99'

Intuit had a Quickbooks Starter Edition 2007 but it doesn't import my old stuff.
Sounds familliar?
I endded up buy Quickbooks Pro 2007 for $200 instead of $40 just for the import feature.

BTW: I didn't upgrade until this year because at some point in the product's life,
Intuit sends an updates that *KILLS* functionality like the ability to reconscile your bank account online. Nothing changed on the bank's side, Intuit just disabled the code at my end.
Now that's customer service!

Re:A story about "Quicken" (1)

Sax Maniac (88550) | more than 7 years ago | (#18211240)

I can see that. I've been using Quicken forever, since the DOS days. They have my address and occasionally send me special offers to upgrade to Quicken 200x for only $10 off the "MSRP" of $40 or $50 or whatever they think it really is. But, it turns out it's just cheaper to go to Whalemart and buy it fresh for $20.

I learned to simply dump all correspondance from them long ago.

Re:A story about "Quicken" (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 7 years ago | (#18211564)

Hmm, the good news is that Quicken and older versions of Quickbooks, work perfectly well on CxOffice on Linux. I was the first person to get Quickbooks to run on Wine, way back in 2002. It is now 5 years later and getting better all the time.

Moo (4, Interesting)

Chacham (981) | more than 7 years ago | (#18209486)

Why is this specific to software?

I wanted to by soup from a deli. I asked them why a quart cost more than two pints.

I wanted to buy pizza (that is cut into eight slices). I asked for eight slices. They asked "you mean a full pie?" I said "no, eight slices is cheaper." The idiot told me that he'll give me the eight smallest slices. At which point i threated to publicize his scam. Needless to say, i got it for the cheaper price.

In the supermarket i many times look to see the difference in prices when buying bulk. Many times the smaller amount is cheaper. Not usually, but many times.

The cable Internet company offers connections for very cheap for six months, but then charges astromically after that. When i challenged i would cancel and re-sign up, they told me that there had to be a five-month break in between the two to get the discount. So, i threatened to go DSL, and got a nice discount.

While in some cases the discrepency is by malicious intent, in most cases its because the price of software is what people are willing to pay, not what it is worth. (No, they are not the same. The latter can be calculated based on what it does and how cost incurred by not having it. The former is just perception.) Being it is harder to get a new customer than to retain a customer, breaks are given.

Had the business gone in to help the customer, and the customer in full-faith accepts this, he would accept the discount and then pay the "normal" amount during the retention period. However, in todays cut-throat society, where short-term financial goals are everything, there really is no such thing as a long-term relationship. There is no retention period. The person is in the system, unless they try to leave, it which case that triggers offers of cheaper prices.

I see no fault in all of this. It may be an example of a sad state of affairs, but its just business as usual.

Re:Moo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18210670)

I agree about the pizza slices, but the cable company hasn't done anything wrong. What's wrong with an introduction offer, where you get to test the service for a few months at a cheaper price?

I don't know about how stuff works in the US, but in my country it is very common to get a "trial subscription" for news papers either very cheap or free (somtimes including delivery). Once the trial ends, you have to buy a full description.

Re:Moo (2, Informative)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 7 years ago | (#18211484)

"Newspapers" in the US are a tricksy subject. Our newspapers will give you free papers every so often for no good reason. There usually isn't a trial-subscription, but the regular subscription prices are as low as they can possibly make them:

Newspapers don't profit off the subscription price. They would give it away 100% free if they could get away with it, because the big money is in advertising. I think the advertisers make them charge to make sure people are actually reading the rag.

Re:Moo (1)

Deagol (323173) | more than 7 years ago | (#18211148)

The person is in the system, unless they try to leave, it which case that triggers offers of cheaper prices.

No kidding.

The last time I had a cable TV subscription, I called to cancel. I tell ya, it was like pulling teeth. They couldn't grasp that I simply didn't *like* broadcast TV. "I had no problems with the service. It's just that there's simply not enough value in the programming for my $x/month." First they suggested the Basic, non-digital plan. Then they broke out the super-cheap, non-advertised price plan (similar to the cell phone companies). They must have thought we were really poor, 'cause they even tried to give me *vouchers* for free cable for a few months! I couldn't believe it!

Hardware is following the same trend (2, Interesting)

dknj (441802) | more than 7 years ago | (#18209578)

Costs $25 for a brand new Lexmark printer complete with ink cartridges. Costs $35+ for new ink cartridges. Cheaper just to buy a new printer.

i don't know if its changed, but ink refill kits in the mid 90s sucked and has ruined any positive perception I may have for them now.

Re:Hardware is following the same trend (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18209734)

Ink cartridges in new printers are commonly less full than replacement cartridges.

Re:Hardware is following the same trend (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18210084)

And that should be fucking illegal. I will NEVER buy a printer with bullshit "starter" ink cartridges.

Re:Hardware is following the same trend (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18209922)

Made a Staples store manager go ballistic when I bought an Epson printer just for the cartridges

Manager: "Would you like extra print cartridges with that?"

Me: "No. When they run out, I'll throw it out, buy another new printer, and save $20."

Manager: "You can't do that! It ruins the business model! We won't make any money!"

Me: "I'm sorry you're stupid. Have a nice day."

Re:Hardware is following the same trend (4, Informative)

paeanblack (191171) | more than 7 years ago | (#18209978)

Costs $25 for a brand new Lexmark printer complete with ink cartridges. Costs $35+ for new ink cartridges. Cheaper just to buy a new printer.

The manufacturers wised up to that one a while ago. New printers in the $0-$100 range don't come with full ink cartriges. Usually they are only 1/4th to 1/3rd full.

Gotta love the "Loyal customer" line LOL (1)

JackMeyhoff (1070484) | more than 7 years ago | (#18209682)

No such thing as a loyal customer these days. I bet you dont change your telephone provider or Bank because you feel that sense of loyalty. Wise up and shop around fool.

Nothing new (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18209850)

This is nothing new. Sports Illustrated is always running ads for "free gift with new subscription" - but if you're already a subscriber, you're out of luck.

Saving time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18209916)

Now consider this with a timer perspective:
1) Is it cheaper to upgrade and via installing additional components on top of an existing install.
2) Or is it cheaper to un-install; remove crap from the registry and then re-install.

Now time is the important part of this equation. How much is your time worth?

Norton is the suckiest (4, Informative)

sheldon (2322) | more than 7 years ago | (#18209990)

A few years ago, say back in like 2000 Norton went to this subscription model. After a year, it popped up saying your subscription had expired, do you want to renew? It was only like $6/year.

But as I upgraded to XP, I needed Norton 2002 so I bought that for $10.

Ok, so then after a year, they wanted $30. I figured out if I rebuilt my machine and reinstalled Norton, I'd get another year. But I ended up getting Norton 2003 to fix a bug in their bloody email scanner. Another $10.

Then I got a laptop and wanted another copy of Norton, so I found a deal to get Norton 2005 3-user edition for $15. Installed that. But now they got smarter, and the subscription was hard wired to a key that was on their servers. So after a year, I had no choice... couldn't reinstall, had to buy an upgrade. They wanted $39 to upgrade my 3-user edition.

But I found 2006 3-user edition for $15., so I bought that.

Well, a year passed again, and this time I went to see what the upgrade rate was. It was $80 for the 3-users!

Well, at the time I was also planning to upgrade to Vista, and I needed something that supported it. I found Norton 2007 3-user for $15 again, through buy.com after rebate.

But after the $80 thing, I'd had enough. I looked around and I ended up installing the AVG free edition on all three of my computers.

So Norton lost another customer, because of their playing games. The $6 subscription upgrade from the 2000 version was acceptable, but charging me twice or more the new product price is not.

Re:Norton is the suckiest (1)

Machtyn (759119) | more than 7 years ago | (#18210774)

For me, price isn't the problem here (except for the $80 package... but then again you are getting 3 licenses). The problem for me is that Norton's isn't that great. I did a project for a college course where my group and I sat down with a lot of the popular security products and tested to see which one would *prevent* malware from getting installed in the first place. McAfee and Norton's scored average and were about as annoying as Windows Vista, ZoneAlarm and Kaspersky did very well. Not in my testing was AVG and Avast. AVG didn't, at the time, have a full sweet of malware protection, and I didn't know about Avast (plus, I only had so much time to work on it.) Anyway, I use AVG for Virusscan, ZoneAlarm for firewall, and don't have to worry about other malware because of my choice in sites browsed and browser of choice. (Though, I do run a few of the many spyware scanners out there and occasionally check my startup programs and running processes.)

Re:Norton is the suckiest (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 7 years ago | (#18211610)

So, you are roughly $100 out of pocket and you still haven't discovered ClamWin: http://www.clamwin.com/ [clamwin.com]

not only that (1)

hurfy (735314) | more than 7 years ago | (#18210136)

But as i recall i would have been cheaper to get 50 single user versions than a 50 pack...however 25 2-packs would have been higher or some stupid combo that made no sense at all :(

ZA pricing is bizarre, as are some of the others. But i stuck with it cause i know the workaround(bug?) to make it work with (ignore) our software ;)

Good on ESET (1)

16K Ram Pack (690082) | more than 7 years ago | (#18210242)

Just renewed and got a discount on NOD32 over new customers.

And the price was much less than McAfee. Oh, and it doesn't get in your way like that crap.

Mcafee? (1)

kahrytan (913147) | more than 7 years ago | (#18210274)

I use neither Mcafee or Norton. It's actually cheaper (25%) to renew my antivirus. I tried those free antivirus software. They look and feel like crap to me. I prefer Bitdefender. They also have basic Linux version for free.

OMG It does cost more, and then some!!! (1)

1mck (861167) | more than 7 years ago | (#18210444)

I used to do tech support for a large ISP, and I always dreaded McAfee because that software, or crippleware as I called it, would always be the cause of most of the problems out there; Norton was also pretty bad as well! The customers would freak when they were hit with the upgrades, and of course it would cripple their machines, and who would they call...yup, us! Then we would have to refer them to the software manufacturers, and these people were not happy at all...especially the somewhat savvy ones that actually seemed to know how to right click! These programs cost the users tons of cash for not only the actual upgrade costs, but for the time spent in trying to configure, and use the programs! Millions are spent every day trying to do simple things like e-mailing, and surfing the internet...simple things should not be complicated for the uninitiated, but then again they need to justify their existence! I use Avast myself, and absolutely no problems whatsoever! Sunbelt Kerio Personal Firewall is another great program, and is a snap to use as well...to bad that they aren't pre-installed on people's computers!

So Glad I Run Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18210474)

Every time I see these kinds of articles, stuff on the lack of security in Windows, etc, I am just so glad that I got off that bandwagon.

Sure, Linux isn't perfect, but between hardware and software firewalls, checking logs, running tripwire, and a few other security things a responsible net-connected computer user should do, my systems are pretty safe.

Nobody folds me over a chair any more.

Norton Virus (1)

nostriluu (138310) | more than 7 years ago | (#18210536)

My mom, who runs Windows, called me because she was having a problem with "Norton Virus." I was going to correct her that it's "Norton Antivirus," then I realized she was right.

I don't run Windows, but everyone I know who does (mostly extended family members) is always asking about issues they're having. Watching the set up and operation of these programs, it's no wonder. The whole thing is a sick joke.

The "cure" is probably worse than the disease.

Re:Norton Virus (1)

mandelbr0t (1015855) | more than 7 years ago | (#18211068)

The "cure" is probably worse than the disease.
Well, no, it's not. Luckily the disease is quite rare and avoiding exposure is usually sufficient protection.

I only run AntiVirus on one of my Windows PCs, and that's the only one that I do anything "unsafe" with (online shopping, P2P, chat, e-mail, etc.). I've found AVG to be sufficient for my needs in this case, and would probably suffice for any home user.

For corporate installations, using the free alternatives as a negotiating point will likely drive the price down. I definitely prefer the Norton AV I run here at work to the AVG at home; it's much less intrusive. I don't think your average home user needs it, that's all. I'm also not crazy enough to use a Windows PC to do unsafe things without a proper up-to-date AV.

Re:Norton Virus (1)

nostriluu (138310) | more than 7 years ago | (#18211168)

Well, you're describing a dedicated geek scenario. Ordinary people (what I was talking about) are induced into installing all manner of software, which rarely directly works in their favour. And you're still describing a reality where people have to spend a considerable amount of effort on something that has nothing to do with their main goals. Maybe for them the general purpose operating system, particularly Windows, may have outlived its usefulness.

Snakeoil vendors prey on customers?!? (1)

hedora (864583) | more than 7 years ago | (#18210608)

Does this "security" software really do anything at all?

After using Linux / Windows for over a decade, I've never installed a virus or adware (except in a virtual machine created for the purpose, once). When I actually ran antivirus software, I never had one of them programs save me from a virus or malware. Granted, I'm an experienced computer user, and know not to click on random attachments, or download pirated software from strange sites on the internet. I have had machines broken into remotely, but that was traced back to a remotely exploitable security hole. None of the current products would have helped with that. (Windows has a firewall; Linux does too.)

I know a few people who regularly have their anti-virus software block viruses in email attachments, exe's etc. All of those people also have viruses, keyloggers and spyware on their system, and probably need to reformat their drives.

I also know people who wouldn't get viruses, but run anti-virus and third party firewall software anyway (the network admins require it). They have consistent problems with Windows (horrendous performance, network crashing,...), that I've never seen while running microsoft's firewall (or zone alarm, for that matter), with no anti-virus software.

So, do customers actually benefit from antivirus software and personal firewalls that bombard you with suspicious packet notifications, or is it a waste of their time and money?

Re:Snakeoil vendors prey on customers?!? (1)

mandelbr0t (1015855) | more than 7 years ago | (#18211236)

So, do customers actually benefit from antivirus software and personal firewalls that bombard you with suspicious packet notifications, or is it a waste of their time and money?
I'd say they do. At least they are being notified that a particular activity is triggering a security alert of some kind. Empirically, they will be able to see the result of allowing/denying the action. Of course, it's a slippery slope to the point where your firewall is constantly asking you (insert UAC joke here), but that should stop once you've installed and run all your network applications. I don't install them very often, and I don't mind being prompted once to unblock it when I do.

People grok computers, but networks are a strange beast. I admit that it's difficult to strike a balance between usability and security, but what I've seen to this point in the Windows Firewall seems reasonable. ZoneAlarm on the other hand doesn't seem to get the idea of prompting only once for the same thing. It also annoys you about background malware traffic which you have little ability to prevent except to keep clicking the ZoneAlarm warnings until it shuts up.

I'd say it's only snake oil if the software warns you and then takes no action. If it's taking action and keeping you reasonably informed of what it's doing, then it is definitely of some use. The decision to buy a commercial replacement for Windows Firewall is left to the customer.

Why? (1)

PhilipMckrack (311145) | more than 7 years ago | (#18210652)

Why buy anti-virus software at all? I understand if you are in a business setting. I usually recommend it to people who aren't computer savvy. For myself, I haven't run a full-time anti-virus package on my laptop for several years. I run the windows firewall, I update when I need to and I run in user mode, not admin. I do run the microsoft defender for spyware just because it seems to have a small footprint and not use too many resources. I do run IIS on it for development.

Norton has done way more damage to systems than they have fixed on systems I have worked on. McAfee is on my work pc and I don't have too many problems with it, but they do occur. I usually run a free online virus scan on my laptop about once every other month or sometimes less frequently then that. Usually amounts to a bunch of cookies and a couple of java apps in my browser cache. Delete and move on. Compared to the problems with running a virus scanner it's much easier for me. Anyone else feel the same way?

i saved my mum lots of cash (1)

GURU Meditation 8000 (790934) | more than 7 years ago | (#18210870)

...not buy buying a new version but by upgrading. how?

well, you could either buy in UK stirling or US dollars. the dollar
price as ALREADY less (we get screwed in the UK all the time this way!)
AND the exchange rate was VERY favourable (almost 2.0 USD per 1.0 UKP)
so I paid in US dollars on credit card and therefore paid less than a
quarter of the UK upgrade price.

the global economy DOES work if you know how to make it work.

PS this security product sucks - but since it was the one already on that
Windows box and the one they are used to driving and I'm not paid to
do tech support for it (I had recommended a Mac Mini from day one.....)
an upgrade is all i got and sorted (installed) for them. the upgrade actually
lost 2 bits of functionality too - those of you with knowledge of these products
can probably pinpoint which software I'm now talking about

Why pay for updates? (3, Interesting)

kopo (890010) | more than 7 years ago | (#18211396)

Symantec lets you legally download their updates, for free, from their FTP servers. ftp://ftp.symantec.com/AVDEFS/norton_antivirus/ [symantec.com] . Extract the files from the .exe to NAV's Incoming directory using WinRAR and you're good to go. (One minor problem is that the newest version of Norton's security bloatware seem to "protect" their program directories by default, so you have to disable that setting in order to install updates manually.

And if you look around online, there's actually a Windows batch file that will do it for you automatically. You can even schedule it with Windows Task Scheduler.

For apartments too (1)

teal_ (53392) | more than 7 years ago | (#18211426)

I once lived in an apartment complex where they did something similar.

I lived in a one bedroom apartment and my lease came up. I noticed they were running a "special" on their two bedroom apartments, whereby it was $100 a month cheaper than "market" rate. I wanted to move to one, but they told me that as a current resident, I was not eligible to get the 2 BR for the promotional price. It was so stupid, that I just moved someplace else.
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