Norton 360 to ship next month

Retailers have begun taking orders for Symantec Corp.'s next-generation desktop security software, and the product is set to ship in the middle of next month, according to Inc.

Symantec has been working on the software for more than a year and is heavily marketing it as an alternative to Microsoft's Windows Live OneCare and McAfee's Total Protection 2007.

Like its competitors, Norton 360 can be used to back up files, and the software also delivers new encryption, hard drive clean-up, and password-protection features.

The software, which is sold on an annual subscription basis, has been beta tested by more than 100,000 users since it was released in beta late last November.

Symantec had said it was expecting to ship Norton 360 some time in March, and over the past few days, Amazon has begun accepting orders for the product, which will be released to Amazon customers on March 15, according to the company's Web site.

Norton 360, which can be used by as many as three PCs simultaneously, is list-priced at US$76.99, but Symantec is offering a $20 rebate, putting the price at $56.99. That's a lower list price than McAfee's comparable Total Protection software, which lists at $99.99, but after rebates and pricing breaks, a three-license version of Total Protection can be had on for just $39.99.

Windows Live OneCare has the lowest list price of the three products, just $49.95. It can be purchased on for $37.49.

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