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Microsoft to replace OneCare with free service
Published: 2008-11-18

Microsoft plans to replace its current consumer security service, Windows Live OneCare, with a single free service stripped down to the essentials needed to protect users, the company said in a statement on Tuesday.

The future product, currently codenamed "Morro," will focus on preventing consumers' Windows systems from being infected by the current menagerie of malware, such as spyware, Trojan horses and bot software. The service will be provided for free to Windows users and will be submitted to the standard antivirus certification firms, Microsoft said.

"Customers around the world have told us that they need comprehensive, ongoing protection from new and existing threats, and we take that concern seriously," Amy Barzdukas, senior director of product management for Microsoft's Online Services and Windows Division, said in a statement. "This new, no-cost offering will give us 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."

Microsoft announced Windows Live OneCare as a beta service three years ago, kicking off the security as a service model. In February 2006, the company announced that it set the final service's subscription price at $49.95 for up to three computers, significantly lowering a household's cost to protect computers. Antivirus firms Symantec, the owner of SecurityFocus, and McAfee soon followed with their own security services.

On Tuesday, Microsoft said it aims to make Morro a more efficient program than the current OneCare application, shrinking both the size of the program and the memory needed to run the code. Current non-protection features, such as printer sharing and automated PC tune-ups, will be removed. The resulting smaller program could find demand for protecting smaller computing devices from malware, the company said.

Windows Live OneCare will continue to be sold until June 2009, the company said. The company posted answers to common questions on its Web site.

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Posted by: Robert Lemos
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