This IS a good piece of software.

I’ve used it, and found it was roughly comparable to similar suites from the big guys: Norton/Symantec and McAffee. (Like all of them, it will cause problems on some PCs.)

However, as a component of the settlement there are significant issues:

  1. (This is a point I already made in court.) The retail version is often sold for free after rebate.  I didn’t even have to do a search to find an example; within a few days of thinking that this was likely to be the case, I saw the full page Fry’s ad (of Apr 2 2008 ) which runs regularly in several Bay Area newspapers offering it for FREE*.  They were selling it for less than MSRP: 59.99, and offering a $60 rebate, (archive of rebate form and original ad on file) so in fact it was -$0.01 after rebate, but before taxes.  This google search currently has 2490 hits, most seem to be relevant.
  2. Prices from major resellers: It’s $3.49 <sic> here (Archived by WebCite® at http://www.webcitation.org/5Ycr82tGg) ) at ProVantage (bulk, maintenance renewal price; no rebate required).   It’s currently $27.70 at amazon.com (archive: http://www.webcitation.org/5Ycr0SmeH ) (scroll down past “Featured Merchants” for the lowest price) – and that’s for the Pro, 2008, 3-user version, new; 2007 is $19.99, 2006 version is $8.35 (it’s not “Pro” though). Dell pricing is interesting; it confirms what Judge Walker said: vendors give it away and hope to make money on renewals:

    Anti-Virus/Security Suite (Pre-installed)

    All options professionally tested and pre-installed for out-of-the-box protection

    No Security software pre-installed

    Trend Micro Internet Security 24-months [add $19]

    McAfee SecurityCenter with anti-virus, anti-spyware, firewall, 24-months [add $19]
    Dell Recommended

    Trend Micro Internet Security 36-months [add $39]

    McAfee SecurityCenter with anti-virus, anti-spyware, firewall, 36-months [add $39]

    McAfee SecurityCenter 15-months add $0

    Norton Internet Security 2007 15-months add $0

    No Security software pre-installed [Included in Price]
  3. The retail version at the price mentioned in court includes a 3-User license.  Does the version the class gets?  Lots of class members have more than one Windows PC… (What “3-User” means exactly isn’t clear; Trend Micro’s site mentions 3 home PCs. What about class members who trade from their work PCs? We need to see the license that will apply.
  4. Given the compromised Social Security Numbers and the release of most liability claims for that, couldn’t AMTD at least offer a 3-year, 3-user version of the software?
  5. Lots of class members don’t use Windows.  They currently get nothing, just because they chose an OS that has little need one of these packages?  They should get something instead – e.g. a rebate coupon valid on any software for any OS not compatible with this package that the class member purchased during the period that the identifier number is valid. Rebate submission should be permissible by email, web, fax or mail.  (e.g. for many, it’s easiest to send everything purely electronically.)
  6. Speaking of the identifier number – how long is it valid for? A year seems reasonable.
  7. (This is a point I already made in court.)  Most class members already have broadband Internet access; most of them get a free bundle of Internet security software as part of their broadband service.
  8. There are other fine print issues:  Will it be the latest version? Version 2008 is out now, 2009 will be out in about a month-around July 24, 2008, based on when 2008 came out.
  9. How complex will it be to get the software and install and activate it?  It shouldn’t require anything more than a few clicks and a few minutes.  But I’ve heard of cases where users have to jump through hoops -e.g. agree to an unusual license agreement, submit a long form for validation by a human, and wait, receive another link via email, etc.
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