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Why didn’t you just stay with the free microsoft applications?
Perhaps because nobody should stay with them.
If you bought a car from a manufacturer and the manufacturer later came out with add-on products that claimed to protect the steering and braking systems from going out of control, and every new model from the manufacturer continued to have the same kinds of problems for 20 or more years, how much faith would you have in the engineering capabilities of the company?
Wouldn't you wonder why protections weren't simply engineered into the product?
But maybe more important, there is a thriving 3rd-party market involved. Good, free products are available. These are often given away as advertising and good-will efforts. If the free versions work, the providers gain paying customers for more sophisticated products.
The 3rd-party providers can afford to do the research because the business model has been working. It's not a huge bunch of cash for most of them, yet it does motivate many eyes to be looking into all imaginable areas.
But what happens when there's a significant hit to the "free from 3rd-party" usage? What happens when Microsoft 'free' add-on security takes away from the business of others? Funding will slowly drop.
The fewer competent 3rd-party eyes that are investigating, the less secure we all become. Fewer 3rd-party eyes gives more advantage to the Microsoft add-on offerings, and that can only result in more disruption for the market. Any significant move towards Microsoft security add-ons is only in Microsoft's interests.
It is a business area that Microsoft should not be in except for improvement to the base products themselves. It's an add-on area for them that we should strongly discourage, both as consumers and as IT pros.
...I guess I just don’t see your point because I’ve never paid for anti-virus software so tell me where they are making money.
Since ITKE is intended for discussions between and among "IT professionals", a reasonable assumption is that any usage discussed here will be in a business setting.
In that case, even Microsoft Security Essentials is not freely licensed (unless it is installed on a home system or in a home-based business or a general small business and is used on 10 or fewer PCs). (Read the EULA or read an example statement from Microsoft at Virus and Malware.)
If you are installing an actual open-source AV such as ClamAV, the discussion might be different. And if you've been using other products in violation of the licenses for those products, the discussion will definitely be different.
Or if you know of a non-OSS product that grants rights for unlimited use in commercial enterprises, please let us know. One thing we do know is that it won't be Avast nor Microsoft Security Essentials (MSSE).
The "free" versions of nearly all 'products' are intended both to increase general Internet security by allowing less educated home users to gain basic protection so that their systems are causing less trouble for everyone else and to let us "IT pros" gain easy and personal experience so that we can make informed decisions about license purchases.
My point was specifically about how MSSE interferes with us as "IT pros" in our related work. I possibly should have stated that explicitly, but it shouldn't be necessary. Anyone using this forum should have read and understood the site purpose given in the site FAQ. It shouldn't be necessary to restate it in individual posts.
Many of us might know that there is unethical use of such "free" products, but that doesn't mean we should support it nor condone it.
For home use, it still matters. But there shouldn't be much point to it in ITKE except in discussions among those who actually service home users. We shouldn't simply provide free service when there are other IT pros who work for a living doing it.
Even those who simply work in retail outlets can be affected by a world-accessible site such as ITKE. Most of us wouldn't like consultants offering to do our jobs for free. We should consider the effects of what's posted here on those who should be handling the questions.
ITKE isn't intended for home service. If more "home" questions are answered, more actual IT pros will avoid the site. The value of the site fades. And if every question is treated as if it came from an IT pro who actually needed help with a professional issue, then each question can become valuable in itself.
It's up to us members to decide whether to participate according to the site's stated purpose.