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Symantec eyes Thais with cut-rate software

The security software maker launches a version of Norton Antivirus 2004 in Thailand that costs half as much as the application's English language counterpart.

Security software maker Symantec has launched a Thai version of its antivirus software that costs half as much as its English counterpart.

The English edition of Symantec's Norton family of products has been available in the country for many years, but Norton Antivirus 2004 is the first to be localized in the Thai language, said Norm Kohlberger, senior regional product manager for Symantec Asia-Pacific.

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The decision was spurred by factors such as Thailand's strong economic growth and increasing Internet usage, as well as the government's budget-PC efforts, he told CNETAsia.

Now in its second phase, Thailand's Information, Communications and Technology project is a government-backed initiative to increase computer penetration through the sale of budget PCs and laptops and modestly priced software.

Microsoft last year slashed the price of its Windows XP and Office software, heeding the Thai government's call and the rising threat of the Linux operating system and other open-source software.

While Symantec is not part of the government's efforts, the company has decided to go with a low-cost pricing strategy for its flagship Thai language product.

Kohlberger said the Thai version of Norton Antivirus 2004 retails for about $25.60 (1,037 baht), which includes a one-year subscription to Symantec's virus definitions update. This is significantly cheaper than the International English version, which has a list price of $49.95 on the company's Web site.

Beyond Norton Antivirus 2004, the company said it has no immediate plans to tailor other products to the Thai market.

Winston Chai of CNETAsia reported from Singapore.