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Microsoft to release free anti-virus service

Microsoft to release free anti-virus service

Microsoft is planning to release a free anti-virus service that it says its employees are already testing in house.

Microsoft has said it is gearing up to release a free anti-virus service aimed squarely at competing with products from Symantec and McAfee in particular.

The software giant's employees are already testing an early version of the software, which is codenamed Morro, and Microsoft has said that it will soon release a beta version to the public. The Microsoft spokesperson stopped short of giving an availability date for the trial version, though.

Investors are closely monitoring the free service amid concerns that it may hurt sales of products from Symantec and McAfee - both billions of dollars of revenue each year with their paid-for anti-virus suites.

Microsoft says that Morro would offer basic protection against a wide range of viruses, spyware, rootkits and trojans, which means the company is pitching it against the entry level products from anti-virus software houses such as Symantec and McAfee, which cost in the region of £30 a year.

Officials from both companies said they don't see Microsoft's entry into the market as a threat. Janice Chaffin, president of Symantec's Consumer Division said: "A full Internet security suite is what consumers require today to stay fully protected," while Joris Evers, a spokesperson for McAfee, held a similar opinion. "On a level playing field, we are confident in our ability to compete with anyone who might enter the marketplace," he said, before adding that McAfee is already seeing strong growth despite competition from established free alternatives already on the market.

Symantec and McAfee make most of their money from full security suites which feature encryption, a firewall, password protection, parental controls and data backup in addition to basic virus protection. Microsoft has already tried its hand at this market and failed with Live OneCare, which it killed last November.

Chaffin snubbed Microsoft's attempt to get into the AV market, saying: "Microsoft's free product is basically a stripped down version of the OneCare product Microsoft pulled from the shelves." Ouch.

Regardless, we look forward to seeing how this plays out - could Microsoft create a viable alternative to the already established free anti-virus suites, let alone more established paid-for products from Symantec, McAfee and others? Share your thoughts in the forums.

26 Comments

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UncertainGod 12th June 2009, 15:04 Quote
So they found a use for the now defunct Microsoft ******, sorry OneCare service.
steveo_mcg 12th June 2009, 15:05 Quote
Not learning though are they, they've just been forced to remove IE.
sear 12th June 2009, 15:11 Quote
This seems like a good move. Microsoft's idea has always been to package basic software in with its operating system, allowing users a decent product while at the same time leaving the door open for competition. Most people I know do not have anti-virus software and regularly deal with virus problems because of it. Even basic protection could be a huge improvement for many people. Most people do not need networking, parental controls, paranoid firewalls, etc. anyway.
Matticus 12th June 2009, 15:32 Quote
Not a bad idea. The amount of people who think avast/avg/antivir etc etc are rubbish because they are free is amazing. If the product is free from microsoft then they may be a little more inclined to use it.

I see a lot of peoples (friends, parents friends, random people we know) who's computers have Norton from 3 years ago which is out of date and keeps telling them to buy it. They seem to think they are protected more than a free anti virus.

Anything to stop the spread of infections through everyday user's computers and stops me from having to spend hours of my life cleaning said infections is a good thing.
dicobalt 12th June 2009, 15:40 Quote
I would complain about antitrust but the reality is that Symantec and Mcafee are both so horrendously bad at what they do they *need* to go out of business. No, the new Norton 2009 is still a peice of crap. AVG and Antivir have allowed me to recover systems that other people would have written off as unfixable. I cannot count how many viruses I have seen Norton and Mcafee classify as low distribution less then 100-1000 instances of infection. It is because their software doesn't see it, not because it has a low rate of infection. Again, these two companies *need* to go out of business.
pizan 12th June 2009, 15:49 Quote
Sorry won't be included in the EU release for antitrust concerns
Nicb 12th June 2009, 16:27 Quote
No thank you! I would not ever use it or encourage anyone else too. The majority of my security issues are not virus concerns but the root of the problem, shutting up Windows OS. The last thing I want is a AV from the same publisher.
flibblesan 12th June 2009, 17:56 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicb
No thank you! I would not ever use it or encourage anyone else too. The majority of my security issues are not virus concerns but the root of the problem, shutting up Windows OS. The last thing I want is a AV from the same publisher.

So why do you run Windows?
leexgx 12th June 2009, 17:58 Quote
i find norton 2009 products are protecting the pcs better then alot of free ones and uses a lot less CPU use at the same time (older norton 2008 to 2004 was just getting more Blotware more so norton 360 2.0 or lower as that was ver bad on a lot of pcs i worked on, now norton 360 is at 3.0 its based on 2009 tech and pcs go far faster now as it only does tasks when your away form the pc), norton 2009 products only have 2-3 programs open when system is running norm, auto update is an puls based update so antivius is norm not much more then 5-15 mins out of date (very small 5-50KB updates)

onecare is about as bad as norton 360 2.0 or lower just slows the pc down i have to disable it when i work on customers pcs as it really slows them down (these are fast pcs)

mcafee is about the worst antivirus software to use at this time (12 programs that run in the background auto update need 150-200MB of ram to start up on some pcs)

i have been recommending AVG for the best part of 2 years as it was fast the new AVG is not so good (and why does AVG recommend to do daily scans that takes 2 hrs to do and utterly slow the pc down for that time)
fodder 12th June 2009, 18:13 Quote
It's ok justifying the cost of Norton/Macafee due to all the extra stuff you get, but most people just don't use it and those that would normally go for a far better stand alone solution.
Rocket_Knight64 12th June 2009, 19:29 Quote
I am all for improving the basic level of protection for the stupid average joe. Anything to help stop the inevitable "Your good with computers so HAVE to fix it for me (and its your fault)" calls. Also those damn spam botnets.
wafflesomd 12th June 2009, 19:33 Quote
nod32 is the only anti-virus I've found that doesn't suck.

I've only ever had like 3 viruses, in all cases I just formatted.
Aracos 12th June 2009, 19:37 Quote
Bah another piece of bloatware, I'll stick to linux for virus checking and comodo when I'm gaming on windows.
FelixTech 12th June 2009, 20:33 Quote
Lol if McAfee has changed their name to McAfree like in the article I don't think they will be worried :P
pendragon 12th June 2009, 20:34 Quote
seems like a good idea.. offers the consumer more choice.. and hopefully it will help the n00bs stay protected from crap out in The Wild. .. remains to be seen how it will actually work though.. here's to hoping
mikeuk2004 12th June 2009, 22:07 Quote
But Microsoft are the Virus, you mean they want to protect us from themselves?
D-Cyph3r 12th June 2009, 22:19 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocket_Knight64
Anything to help stop the inevitable "Your good with computers so HAVE to fix it for me (and its your fault)" calls.

God tell me about it. I remember watching "grumpy young men" and 1 bloke saying that he feels like an "IT prostitute" who gets whored out by his mum to anyone with a PC problem.... which is exactly the same with me. >.<
Otto69 13th June 2009, 01:09 Quote
Oh I misread the headline. I thought it said "microsoft to release virus-free service." Stupid me.
haddow64 13th June 2009, 01:32 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by wafflesomd
nod32 is the only anti-virus I've found that doesn't suck.

I've only ever had like 3 viruses, in all cases I just formatted.

+1 I use ESET (nod32 + firewall, ect...)

It is great really light running... never had a virus since have started using it (it had caught everything from tracking cookies to trojans in torrents) Well worth the money.
Turbotab 13th June 2009, 01:40 Quote
So it wasn't a good enough product for Microsoft to charge people for, so they release it for free? I bet that it will contain masses of advisories to update to W7, DL silverlight etc, to ensure your PC is 'fully protected'.
Rob2109 13th June 2009, 11:36 Quote
+1 Nod32, Antivirus only uses two processes and it catches everything i've thrown at it so far. Avast and AVG were giving me false positives for macros i had written and other mini programs, very annoying. I usually recommend AVG to people though definately before Norton or Mcafee.
Turbotab got in there before me, i was thinking the same about advisories. Would Windows accept you using different av and firewall software and shut up or would you be constantly hounded till you got theirs?
docodine 14th June 2009, 07:39 Quote
Even with antivirus software, my computer is never the same after an infection. The only real way of fixing a virused computer is to reformat, and it's really not a bother. You eventually learn to have all your to-be-moved files in easy to copy places..
ParaHelix.org 14th June 2009, 17:09 Quote
LOLTOTALWTFBBQ! Any of you been reading up on rants to Microsoft about pre-installed Internet Explorer (which in my oppinion is perfectly good of Microsoft to have it installed by default)? I wonder what AVG, McAffee, etc, will think to this lol!
cebla 15th June 2009, 01:33 Quote
If you can run a scan of a file when you want, but it doesn't run the rest of the time then I will use it. I don't need an anti virus product all the time its only when I am working with someone I don't trust's data. I have not been using any anti virus at all for the past 6 years and I have not had a single virus. As soon as you install Nortons or McAffe you can litterally feel your whole system slowing down.

The thing about needing a full internet security package is bollox. The firewall that comes in Windows is perfectly fine and I don't need something to tell me I have half a million tracking cookies which are obviously SO bad.
scarrmrcc 15th June 2009, 13:20 Quote
"Microsoft is planning to release a free anti-virus service that it says its employees are already testing in house."

so that means...

"No Honey, i am supposed to download porn FOR WORK! it is testing"
Slizza 17th June 2009, 22:22 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by scarrmrcc
"Microsoft is planning to release a free anti-virus service that it says its employees are already testing in house."

so that means...

"No Honey, i am supposed to download porn FOR WORK! it is testing"
In house means inside the company not at home.
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