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Anti-virus market hits $4bn

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Worldwide anti-virus software revenues hit $4bn last year, 13.6 per cent up on sales from 2004. According to analyst firm Gartner, the market is almost evenly split between enterprise and consumer sales, with shares of 51.5 per cent and 48.5 per cent respectively.

Gartner reckons the consumer market for anti-virus software is becoming commoditised, a development it reckons will spur product changes that will impact on enterprise software products. Chief among developments in the consumer segment is a move towards offering all-in-one security suites, which offer firewall and anti-spyware features as well as defences against computer viruses and Trojans.

The top three vendors - Symantec, McAfee and Trend Micro - accounted for 86 per cent of the "mature" anti-virus software market in 2005. Symantec remained ahead of the competition with a market share of 53.6 per cent with McAfee (18.8 per cent) and Trend Micro (13.8 per cent) occupying the other places in the podium. Spanish based Panda Software only garnered 3.2 per cent of the market last year but strong sales to European small business pushed sales up 23.9 percent in 2005, giving it the highest growth figures.

Gartner reckons the anti-virus software market will continue to enjoy double digit growth over the short term but warns against vendor complacency.

"The market for stand alone anti-virus and anti-spyware products for businesses and consumers will eventually start to decline as interest for end-point security product suites continues to grow," Gartner principal research analyst Nicole Latimer-Livingston said. "In addition, Microsoft's entry into the consumer anti-virus market is expected to unleash stronger price competition, which will likely lower the overall market revenue opportunity."

More detailed information in available in Gartner's prosaically titled Market Share: Anti-virus (Enterprise and Consumer), Worldwide, 2005, which provides regional breakdowns and more detailed sales figures. ®

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