Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Avast Giving Their Premium Endpoint Security Product to US Schools and Non Profits


Internet Security and Antivirus vendor Avast is giving their internet security product suite free to schools and non-profits in the US.  The freemium strategy for Avast, Avira, and AVG Technologies for years    has been to give a basic anti-virus product away to home users only and then attempt to up sell them to a paid product.  They  would  sell  antivirus,   internet security, and server protection products to the business, government, and education markets.  

 For Avast, the freemium strategy has given them world endpoint market share leadership over Avira, AVG and all the paid antivirus  companies, with approximately 170 million installed endpoints.  Microsoft is leading in market share in the US  with their free product.  http://kensek.blogspot.com/2012/12/opswat-market-share-reports-antivirus.html In fact, Avast had planned to go public earlier this year with this strategy, and then cancelled the IPO (Initial Public Offering) in July.   

Avast is   giving their premium product away to schools and non-profits, subject to restrictions explained on their web site.  This isn’t a stripped down suite.  In terms of features and functionality, it matches Symantec Endpoint Protection, McAfee’s SMB Endpoint Protection, and Kaspersky Business Space Security in terms of features and functionality. 

All public educational institutions in the US are eligible to use AVAST’s premium, business-grade Endpoint Protection Suite at no cost.  The educational license includes two central management control options.It also includes: 

  • Protection for Windows, Mac, and Android endpoints
  • Protection for servers supporting up to 30,000 endpoint devices
  • Remote management for all supported devices on campus


In a December 2 talk with USA Today, Avast director of strategy Jonathan Penn said, “We're not going to charge schools for this, not now, not later.   We're establishing this to help schools that are struggling more than ever for funding."  http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2012/12/02/avast-antivirus-protection-free-to-schools/1729925/
 
Antivirus and internet security   vendors have been diversifying their portfolios into such products as mobile (paid and free) and tablet security. In  some instances they have also introduced  multiple flavors of internet security suites, tune-up, and online back-up products.

AVG Technologies CEO Smith  told the Financial Times in  a November interview,   “If you and I were having this conversation a few years ago, we’d be discussing a free product with premium-based services – but that model won’t get you anywhere today.”  http://blogs.ft.com/beyond-brics/2012/11/01/corporate-watch-avg-breaks-out/    
  
AVG seems to be  tying their future revenue streams to a renewed search provider agreement with Google, and a new agreement with Yahoo (whom they had an agreement several years ago (about those toolbars...)). There  other security vendors have to be  wishing they had these deals!  Their growth in revenue is coming from platform deals.  9th month subscription  based revenues for 2012  has grown 10% over 2011. Platform based revenue  has grown 72%  over the same period and comprises about 45% of their revenues.  Net income over this time frame dropped about 60%.

Avast delivers good security.  In an AV-comparatives.org test in September “File Detection of Malicious Software, they came in tenth out of twenty (Avira was first), and earned three stars.  They came in ninth out of twenty-four products in a November test performed by www.av-test.org .  BitDefender won that test. 

The Avast website is at www.avast.com
 
Perhaps the press, interest, and increased visibility Avast will gain through this deal will lead to an initial public offering in 2013.  One thing this move by Avast will do is take sales away from vendors who sell into the education market, although at a reduced price. These vendors may choose to cannibalize themselves by doing a price match.  That doesn’t help the bottom line, though.  

About AV-comparatives     www.av-comparatives.org

AV-Comparatives is an Austrian Non-Profit-Organization.  They provide independent Antivirus software tests free to the public.  Go to their website to view all the great comparative reports and surveys they publish.  A great number of their reports are free.


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