Norton Anti-Virus 2004 will use Product Activation.

Looks like the folks at Symantec are jumping on the Product Activation bandwagon:

Symantec adds product activation | CNET

Del Smith, senior product manger for Symantec, said activation is intended to protect consumers from widespread counterfeit copies of Symantec programs. The company estimates at least 3.6 million bogus copies of its programs are sold annually, causing headaches both for Symantec and unsuspecting buyers, who find out too late that the software isn’t doing the job.

Smith said Symantec’s implementation of product activation is similar to Microsoft’s and does not use Macrovision technology. Symantec’s system generates a unique alphanumeric code to identify a PC configuration and ties it to the product key for a particular piece of software. It stores license information on the PC’s hard drive and allows for up to five activations for the same product key.

I love how these companies always try to paint these things as their way of “protecting the consumer” as opposed to ensuring higher profits. Let’s be honest about it folks. The truth is that even among people who do buy the software legitmately a lot of them buy only one copy of Anti-Virus and use it on every PC in their home.  I have 4 PCs running Windows here and at $49.95 a pop that’s a good $150 Symantec won’t see if I only purchase one copy.  Even if I upgrade the current copy I have I’ll save $20 on the first copy and the rest would be the standard $49.95. So, yes, there is some protection for the consumer in making it harder for the folks who sell pirated copies of Anti-virus to do so, the real benefit in this is the added revenue the move will bring in from multiple PC households.

This wouldn’t bother me so much if the companies were more honest about it. Of course, being more honest about it is likely to generate a backlash. Intuit learned this when they were honest about why they were going to product activation on their TurboTax application. Who could blame them when they sold an estimated 5.5 million boxes in 2001 and the IRS reported something along the lines of 15 million tax forms filed electronically using TurboTax. So they locked it down and the users rebelled and their sales dropped and they relented and removed the product activation. I give them credit for being honest about their motivation, though.

In my case, I wouldn’t have as much of a problem buying software with product activation hassles if the software was less expensive. Anti-Virus software is a necessity these days, especially if you use the Net, but $50 a pop per machine is more than even I am willing to spend. A lot of folks will just opt not to use anti-virus software at all.

25 thoughts on “Norton Anti-Virus 2004 will use Product Activation.

  1. There is one out there that I can’t recall the name of at the moment, but that I’ve heard good things about, which would make you think I’d tend to remember it, which just goes to show how forgetful I can be at times. Once I remember it I’ll mention it as I’ll probably be looking into it as well.

  2. Personally, I avoid all “Norton” products from Symantec, since they’ve managed to screw up my PC’s in the past.  I use McAfee for scanning files I download on my Windows box, but I also avoid Outlook like the plague.  I do all my email on a seperate Linux box using KMail, so their’s no way an email worm can infect my machines.

  3. I’ve been using Norton for years and have been very happy with them. Though I tend to limit my use of Norton Utilities to the Speed Disk and Disk Doctor utilities. Never had a problem with Norton Anti-Virus. The company I work for uses McAfee. Honestly, either one of them will work pretty well for the most part.

  4. I’ve used AVG for almost 2 years. Excellent software. Constantly updated. Why all the other AV vendors aren’t out of business already because of them (and the other good free ones out there) is beyond me.

  5. I agree with the comments toward Symantec this has frustrated me to no end. I called their corporate office and told them I would no longer be purchasing their Anti Virus. I have two computers in my home and would not pay $100.00 each year. The comment I received were madam it has always been illegal to use our products on more than one computer. I told her to have the corporate big guys to arrest me. My comments to her was…. if I bought a music CD it would be like their telling me I could only play it on one CD player in my home even though I had three different player.  I told her to tell the big guys in the company, thatI would no longer be a part of their success or failure. Even if they relented on the decision I have no intention of every purchasing one of their products again. I don’t like being told how,where or when I can use a product I have purchased.
    Beth P

  6. This is a situation without a real answer.  As the Intuit numbers quoted above show, the software companies do have a real problem.  Then again there is Beth’s side of it.

    The companies’ problem isn’t us putting one product on all of our own computers.  It is us then giving it to someone else who gives it to someone else who……………..

    My Turbo Tax this year only let me print from one computer although I could install it anywhere I wanted.  Did they change that?

    I saw a post somewhere that said it will be Symantec’s fault if someone’s computer gets zapped because they couldn’t get a free (stolen) copy of the software.  That’s a philosophy that I don’t buy into.  But then again I don’t buy into free sharing of copywrited music on the internet either.

  7. I use currently use Norton.  McAfee is NOT an option but a piece of shit in my experience.  Maybe they could do some small number licensing agreements, like 2-4 computers for, I dunno, $100?  Be easier on the home users.  Have to say that I’ll stick with my SystemWorks 2002 Pro until they stop making updates for it.  Or give me a decent license deal.

    Yes, I know Norton screws up some machines, but at least I have been able to remove Norton without having to reinstall Windows!

  8. Not to related to the Norton subject but have noticed that Neil mentioned of a free anti virus program. I have visited there site and noticed that the download is a vdf file.
    Can someone help me how my computer can identify this sort of file?
    Thanx guys.

  9. Norton Internet Security 2004. Cannot find the box for entering the activation key. Their guidance is useless. The required dialog boxes simply do not appear. Any ideas. Ed

  10. I, like many people, have multiple computers and can’t afford to buy a copy of NAV for each computer. The solution, keep using NAV2003 and refuse to buy NAV2004. Renewing a subscription is cheaper than buying new. (For those so inclined, there are plenty of cracks that extend the subscription date.) Symantec will no doubt remove activation if sales drop.

  11. Norton think they are protecting their interests but in fact i believe making a big mistake and their sales will drop, i think their first mistake was to charge $50 per copy, if it was a more reasonable price and had a license per household then i think they would be no. 1 in the marketplace.

  12. I see on the new TurboTax for this year 2004 (tax year 2003) that Intuit is already apologizing for setting off Norton Anti Virus warning. Intuit claims that as soon as Norton and McAfee get there virus checking corrected, users will not receive the virus messages. Not sure what they are doing but must be something like writing to one of the unused sectors to track the information or sometype of registration. Must be time to think about Tax Cut or do it my self!!

  13. Looks Like I will have to wait till some hackers enable a work around.  I have bought NSW in the past but this is not something I can deal with.  I have 5 systems in my home and I refuse to buy 5 copies.  I feel betrayed.  no more of my cash will go to these gold diggers.

  14. Funny with Norton, I have tried to PURCHASE the Antivirus program several times online, but failed. Yes, my credit card is valid and I filled the forms correctly.
    I sent a complaint (several times), but has so far received no answer – last time I sent one was spring 2003. In the last message I told them to **** off and gave my full name and address and also thaat i would from now on use their programs illegally as I have no other way to use their products. No response…who to blame? Me or a company with a lousy customer service?
    Happy New Leech Year!

  15. Buying English software is not easy in Japan.
    “Akihabara” will rip you off on Norton junk.
    Nortonvirus has more faces than the Japanese.

  16. Wow, guys, I’m shocked. 3.6 million copies pirated and all you can do is whine about how it will suck for you, if you had the potential to make four times what your making now, but some loser was skimming 3/4 of your income before you got paid, you would have a right stop that.

    Symantec works VERY hard to make a decent product, I know, because I witness it. I also hear the calls of people who paid money for bogus software, and are told they just wasted money.

    Releasing Virus defs within an hour of initial virus transmission, keeping ahead of minimally endowed sociopathic script kiddies, and supporting COUNTLESS virus removals for people with no computer experience take a lot of money.

    Symantec software prices have halved in the last 10 years, you want it cheaper? Fine, go download freeware, I’ll be happy to remove your inevitable virus with you over the phone.

    Its the law of commerce my friends, service has a price, if the price is to high for you, move on to the next avalible service, you may not get the same quality, but you will have gotten what you paid for.

    Oh, and the NAV/NIS/SW/NU’04 product line is selling just fine, thanks, you think were going to see a drop in sales after killing 95% of the pirated software on the net?

    Hmm… if only 10% of 3.6 million people unknowingly buying pirating software buy it ligitimatly instead, that 360 thousand customers, 50 bucks a pop? thats 18 million bucks. All indications point to that number being more like
    50% as for the rest of you, keep renewing your subscriptions. and thanks.

  17. No one is saying Symantec doesn’t have a right to be compensated for their efforts, but this new protection scheme doesn’t really hurt anyone other than the folks that are already paying for the software. The people that are pirating the software will continue to do so regardless of any activation scheme. Windows XP certainly showed activation doesn’t stop the pirates.

    This probably wouldn’t be so bad if there was an option for multiple licenses at a reduced cost for individuals, but only businesses are offered that kind of deal. It’s hard enough to convince people they should have a good and current anti-virus program running on their PCs as it is.

    So, yes, Symantec has every right to insist that individuals with multiple PCs pay for every machine they put it on, but that may not be the best PR move and may actually cost you more sales in the long run. In my case they went from $50 annually to $0 annually because they wanted to jack my costs up to $200.

  18. I am totally freaked out by this stupid activation thing…
    I was hoping someone would post an activation code for free…
    Oviously searching for 1 week doesn’t pay off… 😀

  19. From all of the previous posts I get the feeling that for the most part people would like a good product at a fair price, and they feel that they are no longer getting it with Symantec products. That truly is a shame.
    Im not a pranoid person by nature but has anyone given thought to the possibility of large companies enlisting the aid of programmers in order to make viruses so there will be a need for their antivirus software?  Can you say job security and potential for mass profit? Just a thought to ponder.  Cheers!

  20. I’ve used Symantec products almost religiously, and while I admit some guilt at downloading or using programs I haven’t paid for, I have always purchased NAV.

    The reason why was because I felt it was a good product, and I wanted them to keep making it.

    I also have 4 computers on my desk alone, plus my girlfriends and whatever else is in the house milling about.

    There is no way I feel it is reasonable to expect me to buy a copy for every one. Even if they had offered additional liscense’s for like….5 bucks I would have understood, but this is unfair.

    I haven’t tried installing it yet on a 2nd machine (I keep a clean machine around, just for virus scans w/ a removable hard drive) but if it doesn’t install I can tell you there is going to be problems. Year long subscriptions sucked, but this is just not cool at all.

  21. Guys… when u have more than one PC at home, have you ever tried connecting these machines together (via LAN cards or something like that) and map the drives into one machine. Then you should be able to clean all the drives from one PC???

    I’m gonna try that out and if it works……. I might go ahead and buy one license.

    hmm… on the second thought… this may be more expensive when you have 4-5 PCs… but if you have two PCs, this should be a good option (provided that if it works)

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