McAfee may unseat Symantec in consumer antivirus market

— 5:23 PM on July 9, 2009

Next time you buy a pre-built PC, you may be likelier to have to uninstall McAfee antivirus software than the Symantec equivalent. According to the New York Times, McAfee has been making a major push among PC makers, paying them "more than any of its rivals" to pre-load its software on their machines.

Last year alone, McAfee reportedly spent $55 million to woo PC makers. That push has allowed it to secure partnerships with some of the biggest players, including Dell, Acer, Toshiba, Sony, and Lenovo. If you're wondering why HP is missing from the list, that's because it has an exclusive agreement with Symantec.

The New York Times says brokerage firm Jefferies & Company expects 40% of all consumer PCs bought this year will come with McAfee software. By contrast, Gartner numbers show that McAfee had only 18% of that market last year. (Symantec commanded 52%.)

Symantec is playing by the same rules, of course. The Times explains, "Quite often, the deals with the PC sellers require the security companies to make upfront payments. Both parties then share revenue over the lifetime of the deal." Revenue comes from folks who don't uninstall the software and decide to start paying annual subscriptions.

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