Posted by: mikepearsonnz | January 7, 2010

Symantec expires its Norton Internet Security

As consumers, do we want to allow software manufacturers to disable their products, 12 months after purchase?

My copy of Norton Internet Security 2009 expired the other day.

I was expecting it to behave like normal and continue to operate;  whilst warning that my subscription had expired and I would not be protected against newly discovered threats.

Instead Windows reported something more ominous:

Your computer might be at risk
Your computer might be at risk

When I clicked on Norton Internet Security, I got this message:

If you do not renew your Norton product,  your PC will NOT be protected
If you do not renew your Norton product, your PC will NOT be protected

Symantec has fundamentally changed the way in which Norton Internet Security operates.  Once your update subscription expires, the product ceases to work.

As a consumer, this wasn’t what I thought I was buying.  I’ve checked the NIS 2009 packaging and the user guide; this unusual behaviour does not appear to be documented.

The change appears to be recent, because Symantec still haven’t updated their online product help file:

Subscription expiry information

Subscription expiry information

I hope this is not the beginning of a trend that other software manufacturers will follow.

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Responses

  1. I hope this is not the beginning of a trend that other software manufacturers will follow.

    It’s just another form of DRM, isn’t it?

    • Hi Jason, I think its actually worse behaviour, because its demanding additional payment while rendering the original product unuseable. And consumers weren’t told this would happen in advance.

      A real world analogy would be Toyota remote disabling your car because you failed to buy an extended warranty after the first 12 months.

      • This is exactly what happened to me. I have used NIS in the years before and this never happened upon expiry. What was very annoying indeed was that right with the expiry I could not sent e-mails with my e-mail program anymore, though the receiving continued to work. This was at first puzzling but it looked like that it was somehow linked to the NIS 2009 having expired. I had planned to install NIS 2010 anyway, so I did this right away and, oh wonder, I could sent again. I guess, what happened was that with the closing down of NIS 2009 the outgoing e-mail scanner stopped working too and this blocked me from sending. So, it is not only that NIS stopped working completely, it also disabled another unrelated program at the same time. I wonder if anybody else had a similar experience.


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