Symantec: Users will see beyond Norton 360 price tag

As Symantec Corp. launched its Norton 360 consumer security suite Monday, the company acknowledged that some users may be put off by the price, which is nearly double the list price of Microsoft Corp.'s Windows Live OneCare.

"There will definitely be some price sensitivity" on the part of users, said Mark Kanok, 360's product marketing manager. "But the breadth and execution of Norton 360's functionality is greater [than OneCare's]. And I don't think anyone should undersell the intelligence of users."

Norton 360, which includes a firewall, antivirus and antispyware scanning software, rootkit detection, antiphishing protection, online and local backup and restore, and computer diagnostics tools, goes on sale today for US$79.99 for a one-year subscription. Like Microsoft's OneCare, which lists for $49.95, it can be installed on up to three PCs.

The Symantec suite has been touted by the Cupertino, Calif.-based company as both its next-generation consumer security product and a competitor to OneCare, which Microsoft launched in 2006 to much fanfare, primarily because of its price and three-PC license.

"People who have been with Norton for a long time know that we've been in the [security] business for 20-plus years," said Kanok, responding to questions about how Norton 360 can compete with a lower-priced product from Microsoft. "It does create some new challenges, though," he said.

One difference between the two suites is Symantec's online backup component. Norton 360 includes 2GB of online storage; additional allotments of 5GB, 10GB and 25GB per year can be purchased for $29.99, $49.99 and $69.99, respectively.