Mobile security firm Lookout today announced a partnership with US carrier AT&T that will see its app, aptly named Lookout Mobile Security, bundled on new Android smartphones. Lookout promises to give AT&T customers comprehensive protection against malware and spyware, privacy violations, data loss, as well as loss of the device itself (the app lets you find a missing or stolen device on Lookout.com on a Google map, much like many other services).
Not all Android devices will get the free Lookout Mobile Security app, but the program does encompass smartphones as well as tablets. AT&T specifically mentions the new Samsung Note 3 but has yet to provide a full list.
“Our goal is to ensure that we provide our customers with the most comprehensive security, and we are excited to team up with Lookout to help protect our customers.” Judy Cavalieri, AT&T Mobility vice president of voice and prepaid products, said in a statement. “As mobile devices become the dominant computing platform, we are thrilled to be working with AT&T to enhance the security of its devices,” Tim Roper, Lookout;s vice president global business development, said in a statement.
Today’s news followed a similar deal Lookout managed to pull off with T-Mobile back in October. At the time, here’s what I wrote (swap out T-Mobile for AT&T for an update):
For Lookout, it’s a big win as the security firm gets to push its software and its brand to millions of new customers, and advertise its premium app (which costs $2.99 per month plus taxes). For T-Mobile, it’s a big win as the carrier is likely getting paid a hefty sum for bundling the app. There’s only one loser, and that’s the consumer.
Don’t get me wrong; security is important, on Android as well as other platforms. I just don’t believe in bundling third-party security software. Users should be able to choose. Make no mistake about announcements like this one: this has nothing to do with the end-user, and everything to do with making money.
My stance hasn’t changed. Lookout is paving the way forward for what Symantec and McAfee did with their security software on Windows: get the consumer used to buying a system that is bogged down out-of-the-box. Unless you’re buying a Nexus device, Android already comes with enough useless customizations from OEMs and carriers. Lookout is just piling on.
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