Symantec announces Norton 360 – with $80 price tag – will be available next month

Symantec today announced the availability of Norton 360, the security giant's new solution - billed as an all-in-one defense against viruses, spyware and phishing attacks while also offering back-up capabilities and PC tune-up functions.

Available in beta since November, Norton 360 was built to help restore consumers’ trust in making online transactions and interacting on the web.

"People today use their computers for much more than work or storing documents," Enrique Salem, group president of Symantec’s Consumer Business Unit, said today in a statement. "If you ask most computer users what they rely on their PC for, they’ll tell you they use it to surf the web, bank online, shop, keep in touch with friends and family, listen to music and store their favorite photos."

Features in the product – which contains a firewall and intrusion prevention capabilities – include behavior-based malware detection and blocking that can be used to sniff out rootkits, the statement said. The solution, meanwhile, uses blacklist and heuristics technology to identity phishing sites, even those that have yet to be reported.

Norton 360 also diagnoses and remedies common computer problems and optimizes performance and speed.

Peter Firstbrook, a Gartner research director, told today that the integration of point solutions is symbolic of anti-virus market trends, and follows competitor Microsoft's entry into the marketplace with Windows Live OneCare.

"I think this is the only way you're going to be able to buy A/V," he said. "It's kind of indicative of the commoditization of A/V. If they want to keep their average selling prices up, they got to sell more stuff."

The solution, which sells for about $80 and can be used on as many as three PCs, will be available in stores next month.

The price may be too high for home users, Firstbrook said. By comparison, Norton AntiVirus 2007 costs about $40.

"I still think it's kind of expensive for the average person," he said.

Click here to email reporter Dan Kaplan.

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