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Computer Associates ends free software deal

PC World

By Joris Evers

(IDG) -- You can still get antivirus software from Computer Associates, but you better be ready to pay for it.

The company last week withdrew its two-year-old free antivirus software service, InoculateIT Personal Edition. The vendor now pushes My-eTrust.com, a new brand with software at a cost.

CA has ended the InoculateIT Personal Edition, eTrust Mail Watcher, and eTrust Content Inspection Personal Edition "promotional programs," although current users will continue to get updates as long as the software is installed on their current personal computer, running one of the supported operating systems, according to a company statement.

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Customers visiting CA's antivirus site are now directed to visit My-eTrust.com. The company's online store offers a range of security products sold on a subscription basis and is targeted at home and small business users. A package protecting against viruses, eTrust Antivirus, costs $19.95 for the first year and $9.95 for subsequent years.

CA's product is cheaper than some of the competition. McAfee.com offers virus protection for $24.95 a year. Symantec offers Norton AntiVirus 2001 version 7.0 for $39.95, which includes one year of virus definition updates.

CA began offering InoculateIT Personal Edition to U.S. home users in April 1999; the offer was expanded to include computer users worldwide in December 1999. The offering included software upgrades, virus definition updates and technical support via e-mail, all free.

"Keeping the software up-to-date has proven to be costly. It turns out we have to ask some money for it," says a company spokesperson.

Whether CA's offer will attract customers is doubtful, says Rob Hailstone, a software analyst with market research firm International Data Corp.

"I don't think CA has done enough to exploit the free service to attract eyeballs. People still associate other names with the provision of antivirus software. I don't think CA will be making a lot of money out of it," says Hailstone.

The CA spokesperson acknowledges that the discontinuance of the program wasn't widely announced, but says all registered users should have received an e-mail.








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