There has always been a heated debate between the advocates of Free Antivirus Software and the promoters of Paid security software products. The first category of people try to criticize the security software companies like Symantec and McAfee for charging the computer users for something which is freely available from developers like Avira and AVG totally free of cost.
On the other hand, the paid security software vendors say that it is futile and dangerous to expect the free antivirus software makers to put in that much amount of effort and time, which is actually required to combat today’s internet threats. It requires lots of money and time to do the research, and if the antivirus developers do not get the money back and earn profit, you cannot expect them to operate on a serious note.
My own argument is in favor of the the Paid Security Software vendors. And I also want to add here that most of the free antivirus software are actually a stripped down version of their full-blown software, which is often given as an upsell product for promoting their paid version. If these Free Antivirus Software companies start making their Free products equally potent as their main paid product, who will go and buy their full-blown product? It is separate issue that recently launched Microsoft Security Essentials does not fit in this category and looks to be an independent effort to clean the Windows ecosystem, in general.
David Hall, Symantec’s Product Manager Asia-Pacific Consumer Products and Solutions, has recently raised a powerful voice in support of paid antivirus software and blasted that efficacy and utility of free security software. It sure looks like an aggressive marketing attempt in support of his own employers at a crucial time when Microsoft Security Essential is gearing to offer a serious threat to the profit margins of established security vendors, but still, David has a point worth mentioning.
What do you think on this issue? Are free antivirus software equally good as paid antivirus?