Network Security, Security Strategy, Plan, Budget

Microsoft to offer free security solution, discontinue OneCare

Microsoft on Tuesday announced it will be offering a free downloadable security solution -- now code-named "Morro" -- beginning next year and will discontinue its Windows Live OneCare security product.

The change in strategy from offering a purchased security solution to a new, free one is being made to help protect more customers because the majority of worldwide customers do not have an up-to-date anti-virus, anti-spyware and anti-malware protection solution, Microsoft said in a blog post.

The Morro solution will offer real-time anti-malware protection, covering viruses, spyware, rootkits, trojans, and other emerging threats. It will be designed with a smaller footprint than OneCare and will be able to run on a low-bandwidth connection, removing a barrier of adoption for some users, a Microsoft spokesman told

The Morro-based product will be available in the second half of 2009. OneCare will be phased out and no longer available for purchase beginning June 20, 2009, Microsoft said.

OneCare currently offers virus, spyware and malware protection to home users and small businesses. Morro will not have the small-business features that OneCare offers, including multi-PC support and printer sharing, a Microsoft spokesman told Wednesday.

In a blog post this week, Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos wrote that the move may instill fear in other vendors who offer competitive home-user AV software for purchase. He added that though there have been other free AV vendors on the marketplace, none come with with the established brand image of Microsoft.

Cluley mentioned, however, the overall benefits of the switch.

“Anything which encourages Joe User to run up-to-date anti-virus software has to be a good thing,” Cluley wrote.

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