There goes Avast...
The UK's Competition and Markets Authority has invited comments from industry and interested parties about NortonLifeLock's proposed $8bn purchase of fellow infosec outfit Avast. The merger inquiry will run until the 16 March when the comments will be collated and assessed to determine if there is sufficient concern to warrant …
Avast went south a long time ago. At one point they were selling actual antivirus products.
About 7 years ago the rot set in when they started putting adverts even in their premium products. You'd get messages telling hapless users that their computer could do with a 'cleanup' and do buy some 'cleanup utility' that cleaned your registry or some such bullshit. Then they started intercepting web searches to give you 'better prices' on stuff! People buy antiviruses to stop their computers from being overridden with adverts and special offers.
We used to sell Avast and it used to be a really good, different product. Then they really started commercialising things and yes, they made a profit, but their products got worse and worse.
Now the final nail in the coffin as far as quality is concerned is that Norton is buying them. Well, so long Avast, it was nice knowing you... in the mid-noughties anyway.
It seems that that is the inevitable progression in the AV industry.
You start with a good product that is efficient and not resource-hogging. And it's free.
It gains momentum until such a point that it starts hobbling its free version and encouraging you, nicely at first, to fork over for the Premium version.
Then the MBAs take control, the product ends up going full Frankenstein and not only takes over your PC but also hassles you into paying ever more for additional "functionality" you don't give flying one about.
Then the next free version of something else pops up and you're on the next treadmill.
It's almost as if there was an AI behind all this . . .
Nothing wrong with paying for a product. We sold Avast Pro to businesses at the time. Many people would gladly pay for a product if it meant there weren't any fucking adverts in it! Most, I would hope...
But Avast went full-on commercialised and lost their USP, which was that it was a good antivirus.
Avast died a long time ago. I used their free edition for a while, upgraded to their paid edition, and then they started with the spammy popup "security article notifications."
Buh-bye, Avast, and I've not looked back. I'm much happer with the Canadian-bred "Cyclance" product from Blackberry (which conveniently has Android scanning as well.)
If the UK objected to the merger, what would happen?
Both Norton and Avast operate globally and both have their corporate headquarters outside UK, iirc. What does the "the UK was one of a handful of countries where some level of regulatory review was anticipated" mean? The whole deal would be halted, the joined company would be unable to operate on the UK, or something completely different?
Which is the greater problem - Norton becoming the dominant purveyor of scareware on Windows - but there is a fairly free choice of alternatives - with no need for any if you trust Defender. Or the dominance of Microsoft in a near monopoly situation for PCs where the buyer has very little choice because Microsoft restricts in various ways what OS manufacturers offer and hence your intrinsic security?
The only other significant player is niche Apple unless you consider ChromeOS a fully functional rather than a simple thin client.
If PCs were to offer you a choice of operating systems at first boot - with payment for chargeable ones - there would be greater opportunity for insurgents to give users a real choice. That's effectively what happened when IBM's dominance of the mainframe market was challenged by unbundling 50 years ago. Only to be reversed by the IBM PC's MSDOS and copied by all it's successors.