Microsoft to offer free security software
SAN FRANCISCO, Nov 19, 2008 (Reuters via COMTEX) --
Microsoft Corp said Wednesday it will
discontinue sales of its subscription PC security service and instead offer free
software to help protect computers from viruses, spyware and other threats.
With the move, the software giant appears to be taking aim at McAfee Inc
and Symantec Corp, its chief rivals in the PC security market.
Microsoft plans to halt sales of its Windows Live OneCare service on June
30. The service being discontinued costs $49.95 a year and covers up to three
The new security program, which the company has code-named "Morro," will
be available as a free download in the second half of next year.
Morro is designed to work with smaller, less powerful computers, the
company said, which should make it appeal to a wide group of consumers.
However, McAfee said the move is a sign of capitulation on the part of
Microsoft. McAfee said OneCare managed to capture less than 2 percent of the
market in the two years it has been out.
"Microsoft is giving up," a McAfee spokesman said. "They are now
defaulting to a dressed-down free model that doesn't meet consumer security
Microsoft has a history of butting heads with its competitors in the PC
security space. In 2006 and 2007, Symantec and McAfee raised concerns that
Microsoft had designed Windows Vista to deny them access to to the heart of the
operating system, which they needed to protect it from certain kinds of
After negotiations, and some prodding from antitrust regulators in
Brussels, Microsoft said it would provide the information needed.
Shares of Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft closed up 43 cents, or 2.2
percent, at $19.62. Shares of Cupertino, Calif.-based Symantec finished at
$12.40, up 24 cents, or 2 percent, while shares of Santa Clara, Calif.-based
McAfee closed up 28 cents at $28.57.
(Reporting by Gabriel Madway) Keywords: MICROSOFT/MALWARE
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