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AVG Technologies (NYSE: AVG ) recently announced the availability of AVG AntiVirus for Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL ) Mac OS. The new antivirus product will help protect users from viruses and malware while running the Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks and OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion. The product is currently available as a free download from the AVG website and Apple's App Store. AVG's David Ferguson, general manager of consumer and mobile, said:
It's a popular belief that Mac computers are invincible. But, they never were -- it's just been a matter of OS X not reaching the popularity that Windows historically had. Thanks to the advent of iPhones and the iPad, the Mac platform has scaled exponentially, and that fact alone makes it a viable target for attackers.
The new AVG AntiVirus for Mac will offer users triple protection, meaning that the technology is capable of detecting malware associated with Mac, Windows, and Android platforms. This technology prevents users from transferring harmful malware from Mac computers to other Windows PCs or Android mobile devices.
Apple recently reported that, in the fourth quarter of 2013, the company sold 4.6 million Macs, which is slightly less than last year's same quarter sales of 4.9 million. The company reported revenue of $37.5 billion in the fourth quarter of 2013, a 4% increase over last year's same quarter revenue of $36 billion. Apple continues to be very profitable and reported $8.26 earnings per share in the fourth quarter of 2013.
Apple continues to be a great investment with growing revenue and consistent profits. Apple currently offers several new products including the new line of MacBook Pros, Mac Pro, and OS X Mavericks. The excitement around new Apple products, combined with the holiday shopping season, will likely lead to expanding revenue and growth for the company.
AVG differentiates from competition
AVG offers a free version of the Mac-based antivirus software as a strategic way to differentiate its product from Symantec's (NASDAQ: SYMC ) Norton AntiVirus for Mac and Intel's (NASDAQ: INTC ) McAfee VirusScan for Mac. This is the model that AVG has utilized for its Windows-based antivirus products. AVG's strategy involves offering a free version of the antivirus software, which increases the user base and allows AVG to upsell users to a more feature-rich premium version of the antivirus software.
Symantec recently reported revenue of $1.64 billion in the second quarter of 2014, which is 4% lower than revenue reported in the same quarter of 2013. The company reported that license revenue declined by 31% in the second quarter of 2014 compared to the second quarter of 2013. Although Symantec reported flat growth for the quarter, the company remains profitable and reported $0.50 earnings per share in the second quarter of 2014.
Investors should be cautious of Symantec's flat growth and declining revenue. It would be wise to wait until Symantec proves that it is capable of expanding revenue through increased license sales. Investors should watch for earnings reported in the third quarter of 2014 to see if Symantec can improve its sales.
Intel recently reported revenue of $13.5 billion in the third quarter of 2013, which represents flat growth as compared to revenue of $13.5 billion reported in the third quarter of 2012. Intel continues to be a profitable company and reported $0.58 earnings per share in the third quarter of 2013.
Intel is employing a new strategy that aims to diversify and broaden the company's product portfolio. The company has reported that it is looking to focus more on mobile devices and "2 in 1 systems." Investors should carefully watch Intel's future earning reports to determine whether this new strategy is paying off. As an investor, it would be prudent to wait for Intel to prove that the company is capable of growing revenue through these new strategic investments.
AVG as an investment
AVG is showing solid growth: AVG recently reported revenue of $100.1 million in the third quarter of 2013, which is a 5% increase over last year's same quarter revenue of $95.3 million. The company also reported profits of $0.52 earnings per share in the third quarter of 2013, which is a 21% increase over last year's same quarter profit of $0.43 earnings per share.
The company's user base continues to grow: In the third quarter of 2013, AVG reported that the company has grown active users to 172 million. Mobile users accounted for 57 million of the active user count. Investors should note that these numbers will likely continue to grow as AVG introduces new products to new markets.
Investor's should carefully track the number of new active users for the AntiVirus for Mac software. This is an important metric to determine whether or not the Mac community is ready to start using antivirus products on the Mac OS. Look for AVG to continue growing its active user base as it expands into the Mac community. Successful growth of the software's user base will translate into expanding revenue through the upsell of premium products.
The bottom line
AVG has a great strategic plan of offering services for free and upselling customers to more feature-rich products that offer additional protection. The launch of AntiVirus for Mac will help the company grow the number of active users in the Apple community. This is a market segment that will likely continue to grow as the Mac platform becomes more popular. Users will need protection against the ever-increasing number of viruses and malware infecting computers.
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