Actually, I've been using Norton IS 2009, and they have made great improvements on getting rid of bugs and really brought the size down. They also keep less of a draw on system resources, and it's been very effective at removing a lot of infections, some big, some small.
The best thing it does is watch what comes in to stop a virus before it is renamed by the browser after downloading. I have noticed a huge difference in how my mom's computer handles virii with a free copy of AVG or something, and how my computer handles virii.
I think that the problem with the industry is people expect these AntiVirus programs to protect them wholly, where in fact, it takes some initiative on the user side to know when something is a scam, or a virus, or complete malware. When these expectations aren't met, it gets a bad name, and it all just goes downhill from there.