Hello Bill and welcome to BC!
I anticipate this is going to be a hot topic with many opinions (or rants) being put forth.
We know how much muscle Norton has in the Comp. Security industry. Just go to Best Buy, Staples, whatever and look through the software section. Regular, everyday people that don't know a lot about computers but know they need one in the typical home just take what is offered to them (in this case, an entire rack of Norton Antivirus at your BestBuy store), open up their wallets, take the product home, install it and feel secure that this software will take care of all their problems with viruses, spyware, etc.
Now, I would guess that Norton is on the majority of home & business computer systems throughout the world (I don't know the hard facts on this, but I'm just guessing), so with this many people using it on a very wide range of computer systems there is bound to be more critisism over it. Ever wonder why Microsoft gets so much critisism? They are HUGE! Also, speaking of security, Windows XP came out just before the big "malware strorm". Back before the XP release, an antivirus solution was pretty much all you needed to be secure. MS took a huge hit in exploits, security holes etc. Since the majority of computers around the world run Windows, the hackers have learned how it works, exploited all their vulnerabilities and made MS look really "bad".
Back to Norton
I think the main reason people knock Norton is that it is far more sophisticated than smaller antivirus programs (bloated). Also, it has been known to be very difficult to uninstall, depending on which version you have and whatever else you have on your system. Logic tells me that you would only want to uninstall a program for 2 reasons: 1) You are upgrading and that version is not compatible. 2) You dislike the product or it has given you problems. Logic also tells me that if 1 person complains and 9 others praise, then you can feel pretty confident that the product is good. However, with so many complaints out there on Norton, the complaints become very genuine and their is a real issue with the product's performance and "playing nice" with the user and computer resources. But, as I said, a big name is hard to knock down so Norton just keeps on the top as far as marketing share is concerned. I also think that with any large company, people just want to knock them....I think it's just human nature, IMO.
I am NOT a Norton user, since I am quite happy with other security apps that don't give me any issues. If it ain't broke, why fix it? Personally, I use McAfee and never had problems with it. But, it is also criticized by a lot of users. I also have a very new computer....and I'll bet you that the majority of the complaints come from users who have older computer systems (2 or more years) and using the latest software that is intented for newer machines. Eg: Try running Spy Sweeper 5.0 on an old machine, it will slow your computer to a crawl....but it's an excellent product and runs fine on newer machines.
That's my 2 cents.