Avast! Lays Claim to Being World’s Most Popular Antivirus

Avast! Lays Claim to Being World’s Most Popular Antivirus

Only a couple of years ago, Avast! was a decent antivirus program with a control panel that I regarded as very user-unfriendly.

It took the form of some kind of weird music player, described by some as a “car radio.”  You would press the “Play” button if you wanted to scan for viruses, and it always struck me as very strange and user-unfriendly.

Then in the summer of 2009, the makers of Avast! gave up on their need to be “more creative” than everybody else, abandoned the music-player look, and came out with a clean, simple control panel that was a lot like everybody else’s — except possibly even cleaner and simpler.

It was then that I really began to take notice. Virus testers reported that Avast! was doing a really outstanding job on the viruses, and users of the new Avast! 5.0 reported extremely high rates of satisfaction with the program.

And, they had a version that was free for home use, just like their competitor, AVG, whom I had been recommending to many of my customers and installing on their computers.

I promptly switched my recommendation to Avast!, and haven’t looked back since.

Neither have a lot of other folks, it seems. I visited Avast’s web site today to grab a copy of their software for a customer’s computer, and they now lay claim to having the world’s most popular antivirus.

AVAST Software now reports more than 184 million user registrations — and growing. I will personally be adding one more to their database shortly.

Since the vast majority of their customers use the free home version, Avast! is far from the single most profitable antivirus product out there. Still, if you do the math, the company must be bringing in tens of millions of dollars per year — if not more like hundreds of millions.

And last year, they found an investment company who ponied up a cool $100 million in new investment for their business.

Not at all bad for a company whose most-used product is free.

But the important thing for you and me is that it’s such a good product. And even if you switch to their paid version, that’s still an excellent value.

Antivirus companies like Symantec (producers of Norton Antivirus), McAfee, and TrendMicro — all of whose products you see pre-installed as trial versions on new computers — bring in a ton of dough because they have a captive audience for their customers. You buy the new computer, they give you a 60-day trial, the trial runs out, and you hand them your credit card for continued protection.

The convenience of going with what’s preinstalled on your computer comes at a price, though. And the price is paid by the antivirus company to the manufacturer of your computer. And it’s probably the expensive payments to computer manufacturers that are behind the higher price you typically pay for those products.

But does less expensive mean not as good? Frankly, if they were all priced exactly the same I’d probably still pick Avast!.

They aren’t priced the same, though, and free for home use is pretty hard to beat. True, you do get a bit more protection with the paid versions, and if you’re using your computer for business, the paid version will be the appropriate one.

If you aren’t using Avast! as your antivirus, I’d consider it. More information is available at their web site, www.avast.com.

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