Symantec unleashes Norton 360

New flagship consumer product is the company's latest salvo in the fight for consumer security dollars. Read the review of Norton 360

Symantec, the world's largest PC antivirus maker, on Monday unleashed Norton 360, the company's latest salvo in the battle for consumer security dollars.

Norton 360 is Symantec's new flagship consumer security product, unseating its Norton Internet Security suite. First announced a year ago under the Genesis code name, Norton 360 includes a host of technologies, many from Symantec's current security, PC optimization and backup products. Yet Symantec said it didn't just cobble together existing wares for Norton 360; many of the features are brand-new. (CNET Review: .)

OneCare

"It is all-in-one security for the mainstream PC user who wants a product that is going to take care of things for them," said Tom Powledge, director of product management at Symantec. "We didn't want to make it a big old kitchen sink. We're not playing the feature game. We want to make the features right for every customer."

Norton 360 is designed to compete with the latest products from McAfee as well as security newcomer Microsoft, which shipped Windows Live OneCare last May. Following Microsoft's lead, all of the latest security products combine basic antivirus, antispyware and firewall technologies with backup features and several tune-up tools for Windows PCs--features Symantec and McAfee traditionally charged extra for.

Microsoft's entry into the market has heightened competition for consumers' security dollars. In 2005, the worldwide market for consumer antivirus software reached $1.95 billion, up 17 percent year over year, according to research from Gartner. Symantec dominated the space, taking a 70 percent piece of the pie.

Norton 360 is part of Symantec's broader vision for the next generation of online security, coined Security 2.0. The company sees a major role for itself in restoring consumers' trust in online commerce. As such, Norton 360 includes technologies to protect online transactions in addition to techniques to block traditional threats from malicious software.

Norton 360 is now available for purchase through the Symantec online store and is slated to be on store shelves in March. The suggested retail price is $79.99 for use on up to three PCs and including one year of updates, which is $10 more than Norton Internet Security.

Symantec plans to offer Norton Internet Security users an upgrade deal to Norton 360 and will ship the new product through PC partners and other bundling deals.

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