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Microsoft to launch its OneCare security suite in June

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February 8, 2006

Software giant Microsoft said it will launch its OneCare security suite in the US some time this June. The software suite will feature anti-virus protection, anti-spyware, a backup program, system maintenance and various performance tools.

Additionally, the suite will offer a two-way firewall unit that will filter both incoming and outgoing Internet traffic. The firewall that is currently part of Windows XP SP2 only filters incoming traffic.

Microsoft's new security suite targets consumers and small businesses. It is expected to be priced at around $49.95 per year including updates.

Users will be allowed to run the software on up to three computers.

The Microsoft introduction is expected to upset the current balance of power in the consumer security software segment. The largest providers there are currently Symantec, McAfee and Trend Micro. They charge $69.99, $69.99 and $49.95 per year respectively for products similar to Microsoft's.

Group Program Manager for Windows OneCare Live Brian Hall said that he plans to compete by offering an easy to use, comprehensive suite.

"We found that current products on the market are underutilized," Hall told vnunet.com. Sixty to seventy per cent of the users lack up to date anti-virus software, he claimed. "There is a certain amount of usability challenges that we think we can do a much better job at with Windows OneCare."

Analyst firm Gartner had earlier suggested that Microsoft could significantly undercut the incumbent's prices by charging as little as $15 per user per PC. Anti virus prices are set to drop about 10 per cent per year for the coming years, the firm projects.

But Gartner also pointed out that existing providers have a 10 year lead over Microsoft and that the software developer has to overcome a creditability gap because Windows is considered the weakest link in today's security chain.

Microsoft kicked off its foray in the security segment two years ago and first started talking about OneCare in May last year.

A first beta of the product was launched in July, followed by a public beta in December. Microsoft plans to offer beta testers a 60 per cent discount as a thank you for the feedback, said Hall. Users can still sign up for the beta.

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Microsoft has made a few adjustments since the beta was published. The company for instance added a feature that enables users to scan the contents of a folder or a single file by right clicking.

Another change over the original plan is the inclusion of Windows Defender Anti Spyware in the suite. The application is currently in beta under the name Windows AntiSpyware, but a final version will be released before June, Hall said. In addition to the bundled application, Microsoft will also make the tool available as a free stand alone product.

The suite initially will be available in the US only. Hall declined to give out a projected launch date for other geographies.

The application is slated for availability as a software download from Microsoft's website or through retailers. The software vendor at a later stage might sign deals with computer manufacturers to preload the application onto new PCs, said Hall.

Source: Vnunet

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