Over lunch a friend of mine and I were debating this issue. We both have small businesses, and that means keeping a close eye on expenditures, including software. He uses Microsoft Security Essentials for anti-malware/virus protection, primarily because it is free. I use Symantic antivirus and firewall software on all my machines, and have to pay for it. One of his points was that Security Essentials offers just that, the essentials, whereas Symantic software is bloated with unnecessary features. I must admit, he may have a point there. Is he right? Are his machines protected just as well as mine, without him spending a dime on the software, or am I getting something for my money?