Vincent Steckler

20 July 2009

Why do you distribute avast! for free?

Here is a question my brother (Brian) recently posted to my Face Book: “One should ask the CEO why he is giving their software for free?” Now Brian is a great brother but he likes to give me a hard time (and of course I do the same to him). This question was prompted when he told me that his previous security product (you can imagine what product he was using given where I used to work and the fact Brian always got his security products from me) was expiring and he was wondering whether he should renew it or replace it. Now, I don’t know if he was testing me to see if I would recommend the Avast product or if he was unaware that I had changed jobs. But, of course, I told him to replace his old product with our free avast!.

So, while Brian was somewhat giving me a hard time, it is a very good question. Why do we?

First, we do it because it is the right thing to do. Internet users need to be protected while they use the internet. A number of studies show that large numbers of internet users are still not protected while they use the internet—either they have no security product or the product they have has expired and they have not renewed it. So, Eda and Pavel (our founders) had decided years ago to make our core antivirus product free to home users. This is something we believe in and are committed to.

Now, we are not completely altruistic. We do need to make money. After all, we have to pay salaries, rent, development costs of our products, analyze the thousands of new viruses we receive a day, and support 80 million users. So, we do have a set of premium products targeted at businesses and home users that need extra capabilities. Sales of these products allow us to support our business.

But instead of selling these through middlemen (retailers, computer manufacturers, etc.), we use our free product to make users aware of the premium products. So when you use the free product, you will be told at registration and expiration time about the differences between the free and paid products. If you decide you need the extra capabilities, you can buy the product directly and seamlessly from us via our online store. If you decide you don’t need those capabilities, you just continue using the free product. But, we are committed to making sure all of our users—paid and free—receive the best possible security protection.

So that is the answer—it is the right thing to do and it allows us to cheaply and efficiently distribute our paid products. And Brian, I do hope you have switched products as your free brotherly technical support for your old product has ceased.

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