Kaspersky joins the new AV trend: multi-device edition

The latest thing in the antivirus business is an edition that buys you protection on multiple device types, probably Windows, Mac and Android. Kaspersky has released theirs. It's partly a concession of the market failure of products for Mac and mobile.

Security suites are a viciously-competitive business. There are few, if any other software categories where the number of market competitors stays so large, and where market share is as fluid.

Competition with each other is not the only battle they have been fighting. For years they have been trying to build businesses for the Mac and mobile devices, largely without success.

The new trend to address this problem is the multi-device edition: a subscription which buys you protection for a Windows, Mac, Android and maybe iOS.

The newest of these is Kaspersky Internet Security Multi-Device which protects up top 5 devices for $79.95 for 1 year, $149.95 for 2 years and $199.95 for 3 years. They support Windows, Mac and Android.

Recently I wrote about the new editions of Norton Internet Security and Norton 360 . I mentioned in passing that one of them was Norton 360 Multi-Device edition. But Kaspersky and Symantec are relatively late to the game. Many smaller players already have subscription services which support Windows, Mac and Android:

Only Norton, Sophos and Webroot claim support for iOS, but they always support much less there than on Android. McAfee also supports BlackBerry and Symbian.

I do think that at least half the idea here is to breathe some life into the companies' Mac and mobile products, but I'm also persuaded of the value of the approach. Users may be willing to buy Mac and mobile protection as part of such a suite where they would not have shelled out for it on its own.

The necessity of a Windows security suite is generally conceded. Many Mac users don't run any security software and can usually get away with it, but they really should run something. 

For mobile I think the value is more in the ancillary features, like remote lock and anti-phishing, than malware protection. There is a lot of malware on Android but I've still have no personal experience with it and I think you'd have to load apps rather promiscuously in order to encounter it.

But in a house with a lot of devices I can see having one subscription to protect all of them being of value. In fact, 5 devices in the subscription (which seems to be the standard) may not be enough.