Protecting over 200 million PCs, Macs, & Mobiles – more than any other antivirus

July 20th, 2009

Is it the Seven Dwarfs or the 3 Kings?

A friend of mine in the US sent me this article from the New York Times the other day

It is basically an article about the “big guys” in the PC security business boasting about how good and how big the antivirus and consumer security business is.  A lot of the article talks about the business aspects of working with computer manufacturers (OEMs) in pre-installing consumer security products on new PCs.  There is some good stuff (and some stuff that is wrong) in this article about the OEM business and I will talk about that in another entry.

But, there is a great quote in the article.  The Symantec CEO, Enrique Salem, describes the consumer security/antivirus business as “Symantec and the seven dwarfs”.  And the McAfee CFO describes the consumer security business “as like an arms race”.  Now I know Enrique and he is a great guy and knows security and the security business inside and out.  And if I was still at Symantec, maybe I would have said the same thing.  It is a great quote.  But is it true?

Clearly Symantec is the largest by far in terms of revenue.  Heck, they make more revenue than all other software security providers put together.  They probably make more money in a week than our company makes in a year. And of course McAfee is #2 and according to their CFO and CEO in the article is spending a lot of money to try and catch Symantec—hence the arms race quotation.  So, in regards to revenue it is clearly Symantec and the seven dwarfs.

But is making money the objective of consumer security? It would seem that the objective should be to protect customers while they are using the internet.  We all use the internet in our daily business and we deserve to be confident that nothing nasty will happen while we use the internet.  To me it seems the true measure should be how many consumers are secured.

None of the “big guys” publish numbers on the number of paid customers they have.  But, we can make some guesses.  The above article states that Symantec’s consumer security business is $1.8B and that they are 52% of the market.  This means the total market is about $3.5B.  So if the big guys make $40/year from each paid customer, that means that these companies secure about 88 million consumers—and Symantec secures about 45 million consumers.

But those are tiny numbers.  I have seen estimates that there are about 1 billion computers used by consumers and small businesses.  What are the rest using?  Why are the “big guys” securing less than 10% of consumers?

The answer is that the “big guys” are not the big guys in terms of securing consumers.  It is not “Symantec and the seven dwarfs”—Symantec is also a dwarf.  Instead it is the 3 Kings—Avast and the other two free security providers.  Here at Avast we are protecting over 80 million consumers—almost as many as all the “big guys” put together.  Add in the other two free providers and the three of us are protecting over 230 million consumers.  We are not making the money of the big guys but we are doing what a security company should do—protect the consumer.

To just install our free product, go to and download it.  And to reach me, you can find me on avast email, YIM, Facebook, and LinkedIn.  I am sure you can find me.

  • CharleyO


    Very nice blog with very good information. :)

    Thanks for posting the above,


  • Tech

    I’d like very much the study of market share. It’s not common that people share this market information with users. Of course, we, avast users and staff, are different. It’s time to reach the other 770 million computers… we have no time to lose.

  • Vincent Steckler

    I absolutely agree with you. We have to bring all those users over to our type of solutions. Just saw some data I will blog about but 40% of our new users seem to be coming from symantec and mcafee…..just imagine 10 million or more a year abandoning their paid product in favor of Avast. That is a huge shift……

  • Karen Copeland

    Thanks for the interesting article. If you take your numbers for the big boys like Symantec etc. and take all the people like myself who pay for Symantec as I buy a computer and then sit down and make removing it first and foremost on my agenda, then they really have less than they think they have. In fact, in my opinion they have nothing more than a gigantic scam going for them. And I really do believe it IS a scam! Back in the toddler stages of computers, it might have been done for perfectly altuistic reasons. It isn’t anymore. It seems to be little more than a money grabbing scam.

    The only interest I have in McAfee is in the Site Advisor. I was with Site Advisor before McAfee bought it. Of late even that is a bit iffy. For example, they will put a yellow warning beside a site and, by way of explaining the yellow, say something illogical like ‘lots of green downloads’. If I were the site owner I would be suing them for defamation if that was the best reason they could come up with for steering people away from my site.

  • Bill McKenzie

    I have used Avast Home Edition for several years. I have had absolutely no problems with it.
    Previously I used Symantec for 3-4 years. It was much more instrusive than Avast and caused many problems with my operating system and programs. It Allowed viruses into my computer that I could not get removed.
    Before using Symantec I used McAfee. It was a total disaster on my machine.
    Thank you Avast, not only for the zero price but especially for the quality of your products. I have never had a virus enter my computer when protected by Avast.

  • Aditya

    Great article but true, it is true a large no. of peoples are using free Avs to protect their systems. Many salutes for avast for making such a great product( not because it is free but it works great too). I have a suggestion if you could reduce the subsripion price of avast inline with compitotor like USD50 for three machine you will be definitly the Number 1 in term of revunue, Your prices for professional edition are a bit higher given the fact families are nowdays having three computers and while upgrading to professional edition your prices become too high , If somehow Avast can reduce the price It will be great nes for Million of users. you will agree that one of the main reason why people uses free products is that they find AVs as expensive.
    reducing the price will definetly make them more afordable

  • Aditya

    and avast will be the leader of market

  • Tlse Ceronio

    I am most grateful for your free service tokeep my computer safe. I feel so safe, thank you all, I have peace of mind

  • Tlse Ceronio

    Change name to Ilse = ilse – not T thank you

  • Grayfield

    One of the greatest things that avast did and all the other free service providers is that they still continue to let the world know that YES! the best things in life are for free!and i guess avast dont need to be big because it is already big!

  • Prash

    I would like to express my thanks to the best Anti-virus that is protecting the world of computers. Absolutely the product is an outstanding shield to the viruses, with everyday updates. I really can’t imagine working in such a great way to get the information on the existing viruses. For people like us who cannot afford to buy the product, it is great deal to have the free product with fully potected. The article is very interesting with the calculations of how other products are just making money and not consumer satisfaction. A Great product for sure……

  • vipin

    Dear Sir,
    First of all I would like to THANK YOU for the beautiful (Yet Stronger than others) Antivirus Product avast!…. I have been been using the product for about a long time now. It is the best in the pack and i can say so as I have used many products before it also.
    It is the Super Performance of this magnificent product that I have recommended it to all my friends and family…Though it is not much as avast! has already registered 75 million users
    Once again Thanks to all who are responsible in bringing up and maintaining this ” ONE IN A MILLION ” to and for us

  • Andrew

    Hi CEO Avast;
    Avast antivirus is really very good, it updates virus database more than twice a day as long as you are connected to the internet, very light at the same time very strong, you are really a king in the industry keep it up.
    You put money in the pockets of millions of home internet users who cannot afford to pay for antivirus more especially in developing countries were the so called “credit card” is a dream to many of us. In short you are contributing directly to the poverty eradication millennium development Goal .
    Long live Avast, long live Avast
    Andrew – Uganda

  • Paul Underhill

    Having previously tried (and paid for) several different PC security products provided by, amongst others, Symantec, and at least five of the Seven Dwarfs, I can say that none of them offer the protection that I get from Avast; in fact Avast is the only secrity solution that has kept my PC virus free for more than a few months.

    Quite how Alwil could make this software available without charge has puzzled me for some time, but after reading the blog it is all very clear indeed. Well Alwil, thank you for the high level of protection you provide and long may you continue; I for one take every opportunity to tell freinds, relatives and anyone else who will listen, about the benefits of using Avast. Many thanks, Paul – UK

  • chekwube

    Very very proud to belong to avast family.Really really good to have avast as my security provider, gives confidence and real protection. ever since i know avast i have come to realised that the abilities of the so called ‘big guys’ are lionized-’larger than life’. I recommended Avast for my friends and many other people. Avas t is the main internet scurity provider in many offices in my area.

    Your are the best among equals

    very proud of you.

  • Björn Lundahl

    Hi, in the long run you might win. You might get so many users that everyone will know of you and uninstall Norton and instead install Avast. Giving it away for nothing is a good marketing tool. What is the expression? There are many roads to Rome! I do no know, though, if this expression exist in English. But the point is that there are many ways to gain market share and to make money.

    You surely are different and a very good company (good morality), so you have won my heart as well. Symantec and the rest will not ever win any heart! That for sure.

    Björn Lundahl
    Gothenburg, Sweden

  • Serhiy

    Dear Vince!

    Thank you very much for your hard work.
    I am an amatory but I have questions. Why you don’t like to check USBs and DVDs? I think I need them especially DVD. And one question I think I’m sure of. Why you don’t check A:? When I tried to check removable media it said no disk in D: (CD). I have also A: and E: (CDRW-DVD).
    Thank you very much for your attention.
    You don’t have to answer me.

  • Evan

    Good information and very impressive!

  • David

    Dear Avast! Team:
    I wholeheartedly agree with the above comments by your satisfied users of the free product. You have a security program that is fast, lite on computer resources, minimally invasive or intrusive, and quite effective. I also think your professional product is a bit pricey, but I am going to purchase it because your company is important to me and millions of others, and we depend on excellent products to protect our systems. I have also used AVG free and it is not as good as your program.
    Thanks for all the hard work.


  • http://GOOGLE jerry parker

    I have been a member for over a year and are well satisfied with AVAST.I have had AOL,NORTON 360,to namme a few and all fell short mostly being easy to understand and being reliable. I am 54 and not a computer whizz so everyday wording and having AVAST fix small problems and being able to understand abreviations is important and AVAST does a good job.(I still get confused sometimes) I Thank You and will continue as a customer and sing Your praises. JERRY PARKER, BECKLEY WEST VIRGINIA, USA BLESS YOU!

  • Zafar Khambatta

    Great work done by Igor Pav
    lov & Co. Keep it up !

  • ramachandrarao desai

    i purchased computer and ofcourse symantic with it only for three years. after that i had to change the os itself to recover from the damage it caused. thanks avast it is my safest and guarded internet now.

  • Julian Evans

    Don’t forget there are some useful “antivirus uninstall” tools (from the AV vendors themselves) that will remove most (if not all) of the AV files from a previous installation. Also don’t forget to block any previous AV files (erroneous files) using your Firewall i.e. look for AVG, Symantec, McAfee etc in your Firewall program list.

    ID Theft Protect