Microsoft has decided to kill off its paid security suite Windows Live OneCare and replace it with a free anti-malware package codenamed Morro.
Morro will be built to use fewer computing resources making it well suited to netbooks and low-cost PCs in developing nations.
It’s all part of “getting more consumers protected,” Microsoft says on its Windows Live OneCare Team blog, while a Microsoft press release adds that Morro will give the company “the ability to protect an even greater number of consumers, especially in markets where the growth of new PC purchases is outpaced only by the growth of malware.”
This is a smart move that benefits everyone: if Microsoft can help stop the spread of viruses on systems where the owners are unlikely to shell out for expensive security suites, then that makes the internet a better place for us all.
But why throw out a potentially lucrative product like OneCare, which will currently cost you £37.99 a year, when Microsoft could simply offer both products and let the user decide which they wanted?
Perhaps OneCare simply didn’t sell enough copies.
The security market is a tough one to break into, dominated by household names like Symantec and McAfee, not to mention the myriad of smaller names, which include Panda, Kaspersky and BitDefender. And then there are free anti-virus packages from the likes of AVG, PC Tools and Avast.
To make things harder for OneCare, many consumers found it hard to grasp why they should pay for one Microsoft product to protect another Microsoft product.
But the final nail in OneCare’s coffin came from Microsoft itself – in the form of Windows Vista. Quite simply, most of the functions provided by OneCare are already taken care of very well by Vista, and will be by Windows 7, too, no doubt.
Anti-spyware? Vista has Windows Defender. Firewall? Vista has Windows Firewall. Backup and restore? Already in Vista. So the only new thing that OneCare brought to the party was anti-virus.
And now that Microsoft is planning to give that bit away for free, that should worry Symantec and McAfee.