Many people are under the illusion that freeware is a magnanimous gift, and something for which we should be on bended knees thanking the manufacturers for their beneficence. Not so! Freeware is an absolutely necessary marketing tool; and is factored into the manufacturing & maintenance costs of the product from the point of view of profit. It serves as an advertising medium, a tax deduction, promotes the company image, and acts as a de-facto beta version by providing feed-back to remove bugs from the system. From the manufacturers’ point of view, it’s like any form of advertising... a necessary evil. It doesn’t put you ahead of the opposition, but you have to have it just to keep abreast of them and stay in the race. It serves no direct productive purpose except to keep advertising personnel employed. The proof of the necessity of advertising is demonstrated by the following fact: A few years back the leading soap manufacturer in USA decided to stop advertising, based on the fact that they were well established, known and trusted. They went broke in short time. Closer to home, in the Firewire versus USB contest, Firewire started charging for its product. USB, which has always been free, came back with USB2, and we all know the rest of the story.... goodbye Firewire! So don’t panic! There’s no danger of freeware ever disappearing while we live in a market driven economy. But even in the worst case scenario, if they all disappeared, 90% of the population would simply use Windows Firewall and Win Defender, or pay for a program... perish the thought! In reality there aren’t many genuine free software programs. A few exceptions are Free Download Manager, CCleaner, EasyCleaner & DriverMax; and I pay tribute to them. Most so called freewares have a splash, nag or donate screen; although some at least provide an option to turn off the splash screen, such as Super Anti-Spyware. And that’s done out of good marketing savvy. After all, why brown off the potential buyers of your retail product? Better to keep them on side. Norton Anti-Virus to my knowledge doesn’t offer freeware, (correct me if I’m wrong), so it’s no coincidence that most of their software is included in packages such as utilities that come with the original product like motherboards from Intel. But their software is not free: It’s included in the overall cost of the main product you buy. There is a standing joke in the software marketing industry: A competition was held where the 2nd prize was a year’s free subscription to Norton Anti-Virus. The 1st prize was a program capable of removing Norton AV from your operating system. Here’s the bottom line: Your freeware “gift” is paid for by the purchasers of the retail versions of this software! My pet aversion: Freeware versus Free Download Being a bit slow, it took me awhile to figure out the difference. But after downloading, installing and running umpteen “freeware” products... and finding out you need 6,000 registry items removed or drivers updated, etc... they inform you that you have to buy the retail product to do it! Why freeware web sites allow these parasitic companies to masquerade under the title of freeware is beyond me. They should be called: "Trialware".... and we're the ones enduring the trial! Even from a marketing point of view, they do nothing but repel potential buyers. So there’s my take on it. Please feel free to knock yourself out criticising this article.