Computer Associates pulls free antivirus software

Computer Associates International Inc. (CA) last week withdrew its two-year-old free anti-virus software service, InoculateIT Personal Edition. The vendor now pushes, a new brand with software at a cost.

CA has ended the InoculateIT Personal Edition, eTrust Mail Watcher, and eTrust Content Inspection Personal Edition “promotional programs,” although current users will continue to get updates as long as the software is installed on their current personal computer, running one of the supported operating systems, according to a company statement.

CA began offering InoculateIT Personal Edition to U.S. home users in April 1999; the offer was expanded to include computer users worldwide in December 1999. The offering included software upgrades, virus definition updates and technical support via e-mail, all free.

“Keeping the software up-to-date has proven to be costly. It turns out we have to ask some money for it,” said a CA spokesman in a Nieuwegein, Netherlands.

Customers visiting CA’s anti-virus site are now directed to visit The company’s online store offers a range of security products sold on a subscription basis and is targeted at home and small business users. A package protecting against viruses, eTrust Antivirus, costs US$19.95 for the first year and $9.95 for subsequent years.

CA’s product is cheaper than some of the competition. Corp. offers virus protection for $24.95 a year. Symantec Corp. offers Norton AntiVirus 2001 version 7.0 for $39.95, which includes one year of virus definition updates.

Whether CA’s offer will attract customers is doubtful, said Rob Hailstone, a software analyst with market research firm International Data Corp. (IDC).

“I don’t think CA has done enough to exploit the free service to attract eyeballs. People still associate other names with the provision of antivirus software. I don’t think CA will be making a lot of money out of it,” said Hailstone.

The CA spokesman acknowledged that the discontinuance of the program wasn’t widely announced, but said all registered users should have received an e-mail.

Computer Associates, with Canadian offices in Montreal, Quebec City, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver, can be reached at CA’s anti-virus site is at