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Symantec Shorts Upgraders

 
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wawadave
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 15, 2004 8:43 am    Post subject: Symantec Shorts Upgraders Reply with quote

ED FOSTER'S GRIPELOG
The Reader Advocate Column
========================================

Symantec Shorts Upgraders

Thursday, April 15, 2004
By Ed Foster

Most software companies like to encourage customers to upgrade to the newest version of their product. That's why it is strange that Symantec is punishing some who upgrade by shorting them on their LiveUpdate subscriptions.

A reader who had recently upgraded to Symantec's Norton SystemWorks 2004 suite was surprised when he noticed his subscription to the LiveUpdate service (which provides updated virus definitions for Norton products) would expire in 12 months. "In past generations of the products, the subscription period that comes with new products -- usually 12 months - was added on to the expiration date of an existing product," the reader wrote. "So if you upgraded Norton AntiVirus 2002 to 2003 when you still had six months to go on your old subscription, you'd get 18 months from that point. With 2004 products, the policy is that you lose any leftover time on old products. Once you install a new product, the clock is set to 12 months no matter what."

Having lost several months he had remaining on the 12-month subscription that had come with SystemWorks 2003, the reader was not happy. "I think it's fraud or theft or something," he said. "It's certainly not described on the box or on the Web site. It was not until I used the online support systems to troubleshoot the expiration problem that a very precise statement to this effect came up."

The statement that the reader found in Symantec's support pages states:

"Subscriptions cannot be transferred from one version of a program to another. For example, if you have Norton AntiVirus 2003 and wish to transfer the remaining time on your subscription to Norton AntiVirus 2004, you will not be able to transfer the time. When you purchase a new version of your program, you are provided with a complimentary subscription."

While that certainly makes the policy starkly clear, it certainly leaves one with some questions about why Symantec is putting customers in this position. Are you never supposed to upgrade the software before your twelve-month's subscription has expired? And does it work differently if you choose to skip an upgrade and just renew your LiveUpdate subscription?

And shouldn't our reader the get the full 12-months subscription he paid for as part of SystemWorks 2003? "I paid for the product and expected the subscription as part of the payment," the reader says. "The LiveUpdate subscription certainly has value; if purchased alone, it's almost $20/year now." Just a few years ago, by the way, LiveUpdate subscriptions were only $3.95 per year.

A Symantec spokesperson explained that the company sees the new LiveUpdate subscription as providing new functionality. "For example, the 2003 version of Norton SystemWorks did not include the enhanced threat detection features for spyware and keyboard loggers that the new version has," the spokesman said. "So his LiveUpdate subscription has more value than the previous product because it also provides updated spyware definitions. When you buy a new version of the program, you're getting new functionality that wasn't available through your subscription before."

The policy applies to all Norton products that use LiveUpdate subscriptions, including Norton Personal Firewall and Norton AntiSpam. The spokesman also added that it applies whether the older subscription was a separate renewal or came bundled with a previous upgrade. The one exception is if the customer paid for a subscription renewal less than 60 days before upgrading - in that case, the spokesman said, the customer can get a refund on the cost of the renewal under Symantec's 60-day money-back guarantee policy.

I don't know how much sense that makes to you, but to me it still seems like a mighty odd way to treat customers of security products. After all, an anti-virus package without updated virus definitions quickly becomes worthless. So if my subscription is running out, I can't wait around two months to see if there's a software upgrade coming out. But if I do wind up upgrading in three months, I'll have wasted my renewal fee.

And don't forget that among the "new functionality" Symantec is delivering in many of its products is product activation. And, from what we've seen, buggy product activation at that. Talk about punishing your customers for upgrading.

========================================

Read this column on-line and post your own comments at http://www.gripe2ed.com/scoop/section/Columns, or write me directly at Foster@gripe2ed.com.

In my weblog at http://www.gripe2ed.com:

Shame on Dell, or Shame on Microsoft?
There's plenty of blame to go around when a user has to pay $149 extra so her new PC can read e-mail attachements.
http://www.gripe2ed.com/scoop/story/2004/4/12/980/04405

Reader Voices: A New Computer Associates?
Some readers think the serial acquisitioner has left its past slash-and-burn ways behind.
http://www.gripe2ed.com/scoop/story/2004/4/13/132444/943

========================================

Copyright 2004 Ed Foster's GripeLog. You are granted permission to forward this column to friends who would have an interest in this topic.



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Nick
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 15, 2004 8:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Subscriptions cannot be transferred from one version of a program to another. For example, if you have Norton AntiVirus 2003 and wish to transfer the remaining time on your subscription to Norton AntiVirus 2004, you will not be able to transfer the time. When you purchase a new version of your program, you are provided with a complimentary subscription


Bulls%#@ You could last year, there's no reason other than they say so now, but they are making sound like it's not possible anymore. But I do get a complimentry subscription. Well, wouldn't Norton be useless without updates? After that, there might be "value added" extras included. But wait! if you order in the next 10 minutes, we'll throw in a Ginzu knife, a $19.99 value, all yours for free!

There's alot of flowery doublespeak in that article, and I don't like it. It's their choice to do what they want, but don't talk to me like I'm an idiot.

Quote:
So his LiveUpdate subscription has more value than the previous product


I think I'm going to puke
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wawadave
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 15, 2004 10:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i agree nick
but the ginzu will cut threw armour plateing in -40c

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