June 19, 2009

Microsoft Free Anti-Virus Software Brings Competition To Market

Microsoft Corp is giving billion-dollar anti-virus companies a run for their money with the release of their competitive new PC security service, available for free demonstration next week, Reuters reported.

Industry analysts who got a sneak peak into the service, said the elements and quality of the new Microsoft service is equivalent to that of $40 annual anti-virus products from Symantec Corp, McAfee Inc and Trend Micro Inc.

"This is good news for consumers. It's bad news for competitors," said Roger Kay, a PC industry analyst with Endpoint Technologies Associates.

In addition to the traditional product protection features against known malicious software like viruses, spyware, trojans and rootkits, the Microsoft product will identify a questionable file that has not yet been registered as malware and alert Microsoft investigators for more extensive exploration. 

But security companies do not expect Microsoft to pose any real threat.  Executives with Symantec and McAfee believe it is a weak alternative to the complete protection offered in their popular security suites. 

While Microsoft's product only targets malicious software, security software competitors have bundled in additional features like encryption, firewalls, data backup and parental controls. 

Industry expert Rob Enderle of Enderle Group said consumers are not concerned with the fluff.

"If what is 'good enough' is free, how do you justify paying more?" he said.

On June 23, a beta version of the product will be available for download on the Microsoft website, with a final version available this fall, the company said.

Microsoft hopes the free service will make up for a failed attempt three years ago to sell security software, Live OneCare.  That product will be removed from the market in November. 


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