Microsoft has unveiled controversial plans for a subscription service that could charge customers for using antivirus, anti-spyware and firewall protection.
The system, unveiled on Thursday, is being tested internally and will be called "Windows OneCare".
After Microsoft employees have experienced the software it will be pushed out in a beta version later on in the year. As yet, no details have been released confirming how much it will cost.
Some industry watchers have reacted angrily to the news, claiming that Microsoft should issue safe software rather than charging to plug holes.
"I think it's good thing. Microsoft should be offering customers protection, but charging for it is very cheeky," said Richard Starnes, an information security professional. "They could also get in trouble if it creates a monopoly, they have been in trouble in the past."
Starnes believes that Microsoft's security suite could challenge the antivirus and antispyware leviathans because customers will feel comfortable using it as a one-stop shop.
"The thing is, Microsoft should be offering secure products in the first place. It's like a car company offering insurance so that it can fund product recalls," Starnes said. "The service should be free. Microsoft doesn't charge for patches, yet."Yesterday SC reported Microsoft had issued only one patch in its monthly cycle.