Free Core Protection Software to be Offered by Microsoft
Microsoft has recently announced their plans to release free software to protect against viruses, spyware, and malware.
The word from Microsoft’s press site:
Code-named “Morro,” this streamlined solution will be available in the second half of 2009 and will provide comprehensive protection from malware including viruses, spyware, rootkits and trojans. This new solution, to be offered at no charge to consumers, will be architected for a smaller footprint that will use fewer computing resources, making it ideal for low-bandwidth scenarios or less powerful PCs.
Microsoft has also stated that they will stop charging for their Microsoft Live OneCare Solution in favor of the free “Morro” solution. Beginning June 30, 2009 you will no longer be required to update your subscription to OneCare. You can read more about OneCare on the OneCare blog.
The “Morro” solution will be a downloadable package and will not be bundled with a new PC or OS purchase.
Will this mean doom for other anti-virus software vendors?
Probably not – Most vendors have both a business version of their anti-virus software and a home user version. Companies like Symantec and McAfee can continue to offer their products to enterprise clients. In fact, Microsoft will continue to charge for their business version of anti-virus software.
These vendors typically bundle additional “non” anti-virus services with their products that consumers feel is a value add. “Morro” will provide only core protection and won’t include some of these additional features.
Free anti-virus software is nothing new. The current home user can download free anti-virus programs from AVG, Avast, Avira, Trend Micro and others. Most free anti-virus programs will try to up-sell you additional products or have some functions disabled. “Morro” is free, and from all reports Microsoft won’t try to up-sell you products that can provide additional protection.
I like the fact that Microsoft is offering the software for free. It allows users who wouldn’t ordinarily be protected from malware and viruses to have at least a small level of protection. I think the average user will feel more comfortable opting-in to a service that is provided by Microsoft rather than some other third party.
Consumers will ultimately decide whether or not “Morro” will be of value. Will it detect malware or spyware as efficiently as other products on the market? Or will users simply continue to use their McAfee, Symantec, etc… subscriptions?