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McAfee pours scorn on Symantec leadership claim

McAfee has strongly dismissed a Symantec claim that it is leading the worldwide antivirus business.

Symantec made the claim on the back of IDC research figures but according to McAfee's director of northern Europe, Jeff Barnes, Symantec has used value and not 'units sold' to justify its position.

"It's amazing to define market share by money," said Barnes. "It's like saying Mercedes sells more cars than Ford just because its cars are more expensive."

Barnes added that Symantec's own figures show McAfee is, in fact, in a stronger position than Symantec. Worldwide unit shipments in the figures show McAfee as accounting for 46.7 per cent of the market and Symantec 37.1 per cent.

Symantec claims it has a 45.6 per cent share of the antivirus software market because it had a sales value of $81.2 million from a 1995 total of $178.2 million. As a result, it claims to be around 20 points clear of McAfee in worldwide market share.

"It's immaterial," said Barnes, who added that in the UK, McAfee goes "head to head with Solomons" and that "we hardly come across Symantec in a competitive situation."

In 1996, McAfee claims to have had an antivirus software revenue of $126 million at $15 a node, which Barnes said gives McAfee about eight and a half million users.