Back when Microsoft announced it was going to release its free Security Essentials antivirus program, some security firms scoffed at the idea that an au gratis solution could hang with fleshed out, non-free AV suites. Among them was Symantec, who warned that "if you are only relying on free antivirus" to keep your PC safe, then "you are not getting the protection you need to be able to stay clean and have a reasonable chance of avoiding identify theft."
Symantec made that comment over a year ago, and whether Comodo has been stewing over it ever since then, or just recently became aware of it, the company wants Symantec to put up or shut up.
"I read what Symantec has said about free antivirus products. This kind of misinformation is just unacceptable from companies like Symantec!," Comodo CEO Melih Abdulhayoglu said in a blog post. "Enough is enough!...You can't mislead end users with blatant lies like this!
"If Symantec truly believes what they preach to the media when then they will have no problem taking this challenge:
To Symantec: Comodo openly challenges you to an independent test to see which product can protect users better. A $$$ Norton product or totally free Comodo!"
Melih suggested the two sides choose a mutually agreeable independent testing organization to conduct the test and find out which product protects PCs better, and in case you're wondering, Symantec is fully aware of the challenge.
"Norton is included in a variety of independent, third-party tests from testing labs like AV-Test and AV Comparatives. We encourage Comodo to contact these testing labs if they are interested in having their product included in these tests," Symantec said.
For what it's worth, we reviewed the paid suites from both vendors (as well as eight other security products) in our Security Shootout feature earlier this year.