Sorry, but I think you need to differentiate. Even if the borders are crossing each other more and more and the "old fashioned" antivirus software may need replacement with an "all-in-one" solution in the long run, we currently need to differ:Virus
Today the term virus is often loosely used to refer to any type of malicious program, or is used to describe any ‘bad thing’ that a malicious program does to a host system. Strictly speaking, however, a virus is defined as program code that replicates....
Wikipedia also has information on this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_virusSpyware
‘Spyware’ is something of a grey area, so there’s no copy-book definition for it. However, as the name suggests, it’s often loosely defined as software that is designed to gather data from a computer and forward it to a third party without the consent or knowledge of the computer’s owner....
Again, Wikipedia also has info on this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SpywareMalware
Malware (short for malicious software) refers to any program that is deliberately created to perform an unauthorized, often harmful, action.
I hope the above illustrates the complexities of the "modern" fight against the bad boys and why thus far companies have stuck to what they did best. Considering the mass of infections and varieties out there today, no company can allow itself to simply concentrate on one area, as they would otherwise fall behind. Thus the "Internet Security Suites." As they have not yet worked on a all-in-one approach, the putting together of 3 apps into 1 has set a trend of its own. It also leaves you with little choice in terms of detection rates and performance. Thence I prefer to install three apps of my choice as "one" supposed application, which in fact is just three programmes stuck together so to say.
There is only one application I am aware of at the moment that tries to actually make only one programme instead of the three-in-one approach, by Sunbeltsoftware, but I have not tried it yet and cannot comment on it. Until the other companies try such an approach and it becomes the "standard", you will be stuck with the above scenario.
As for your "nothing is for free" thing, well. Of course the free versions may have limitations, but not in their detection rates. That would be as if they shot themselves in the foot. Who would buy their product after all, if they trade off with detection rates. What they do, is pull up nagscreens which you can click away that will tell you how much better you are off with paid software. Detection wise there should not be a difference. May be additional features which you dont always need or want, or a guard
system (often with antispyware programmes found as a paid additional).
Sorry for this rant. Its not addressed at you, but rather trying to clarify things for any registered / non-registered user here who could / would read this topic. Very important and diffuse subject.