February 7, 2006 1:02 PM PST

Microsoft security service to ship in June

Microsoft plans to ship a new security product in June, charging $49.95 a year to shield up to three PCs against viruses, spyware and other cyberthreats, the company said on Tuesday.

As previously reported, Windows OneCare Live's June debut marks Microsoft's long-anticipated entry into the consumer antivirus market. That space has long been the domain of specialized vendors, led by Symantec and McAfee. Microsoft announced its intent to offer antivirus products in June 2003 when it bought Romanian antivirus software developer GeCad Software.

OneCare combines antivirus, anti-spyware and firewall software with backup features and several tune-up tools for Windows PCs. The product will be sold online and in stores, Microsoft said.

The software maker is following common routes to get its software into consumers' hands. It will offer a free 90-day test period and is working on deals with PC makers to ship OneCare on new computers, said Dennis Bonsall, director of Windows OneCare Live at Microsoft.

Buyers can install OneCare on up to three PCs that run Windows XP with Service Pack 2. This is a discount over rival products from Symantec and McAfee, which charge $119.99 and $139.99, respectively, before rebates, for three-user editions of their security suites. The Symantec and McAfee products are often heavily rebated.

"Up to three licenses is a real good deal," said Andrew Jaquith, an analyst with The Yankee Group in Boston. "I think it is very consumer-friendly and a good deal for families and SOHO (small office, home office) type businesses."

OneCare also includes support at no additional charge via e-mail, online chat or phone, Microsoft said. This compares to oft-criticized, mostly paid-support options from Symantec and McAfee.

Microsoft announced its plans for OneCare in May 2005. Invited testers have been trying it out since last July and a public test version was released late last year. About 170,000 people are testing OneCare. As a thank-you, testers can get a discounted rate of $19.95 per year if they sign up in April, Bonsall said.

Microsoft will sell OneCare on a subscription basis--a change from the traditional way security software has been sold. As long as a subscription is active, users will get signature and feature updates to guard against the latest attacks. Traditionally, users paid annually for signature updates, while a product upgrade required an additional purchase.

Symantec and McAfee sell their boxed security suite products for $69.99, before any rebates, and then charge an annual fee for signature updates. However, both security companies have also been moving to a subscription model.

In addition to adding subscription options, established security software sellers have prepared for Microsoft's market entry by adding anti-spyware to their security suites. Symantec later this year also plans to introduce a new product, code-named Genesis, that will be sold on a subscription-only basis and has many of the same features as OneCare.

"If Microsoft had not combined the two, you would still see the mainstream antivirus vendors all trying to premium-price all these things separately," Jaquith said.

Initially, OneCare will only be available in English on the U.S. market. Microsoft plans to have test versions out in other languages within the next year, a representative said.

The global antivirus market is growing; it reached $3.7 billion in revenue in 2004, up 36 percent from 2003, IDC said in December. The market research outfit forecasts the antivirus market will grow to $7.3 billion in 2009.

With OneCare, Microsoft is targeting consumers, especially those who do not run security or have let their current product expire. The company says it believes 70 percent of consumers fall into that category. In a recent research note, The Yankee Group estimated the niche as a market worth potentially $15 billion.

The company plans to include Windows Defender, an anti-spyware program, within Windows Vista, the update to the operating system scheduled to arrive before the 2006 holiday sales season. However, there are no plans to bundle antivirus software in Vista.

Microsoft is also eyeing the enterprise security market. It is working on a new Microsoft Client Protection product to defend business desktops, laptops and file servers against malicious attacks.

See more CNET content tagged:
McAfee Inc., Symantec Corp., subscription, antivirus, security

56 comments

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I know I'm cheap when...
$49 bucks seems alot to me to defend me against holes in the operating system you made!

I'll continue using Windows because that is what I'm used to....

I'll also continue using my router's firewall with 4 FREE programs S&D/AdAware/Anwil Antivirus and Zone Alarm.
Posted by KsprayDad (375 comments )
Reply Link Flag
protection schemes
I dont think this product will do too bad. I have used the beta on my Laptop and it worked very well and no, I didnt notice performance degradation. I noticed a performance hit when I was running two anti-virus clients, but one care by itself did well. As for sloppy coding allegations, utter crap. vulnerabilities and bugs are found in every OS, not just Windows. So why is Windows attacked? Well its got over 90% of the market of course its going to be attacked.
Posted by robertdohnert (12 comments )
Link Flag
Give away all your money to Billy and the boys...
Why would anyone give their hard-earned money to windoze to fix the software problems they created.
Posted by solarflair (35 comments )
Link Flag
Protection Money!!!
Reminds me of how a gang "protects" a neighborhood. MS causes
the problems (sloppy coding) and then charges you to protect
yourself from the boogyman!

Hilarious!!!!
Posted by (57 comments )
Reply Link Flag
bad comparison
and unlike your comparison, MS is not the only option.
Posted by capfan12 (101 comments )
Link Flag
MS entry means good news for commercial AV consumers
For those of us currently purchasing/subscribing commercial AV solutions, MS entry into the AV sector means more competitive pricing (and probably innovative features as well), as long as MS is not the only one left alive.
Posted by thanhvn (51 comments )
Reply Link Flag
That's $49.95 a year...
... that MS is NOT going to get from me.
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Link Flag
have you actually used the software ?
Dont want to distract from the anti microsoft rants here but I used it for a while and it seemed a great concept that was relatively well executed - BUT - BIG BUT - It slowed my PC down after a few weeks - opening a browser window slowed to 10 or 15 seconds or longer. ( 2.8 ghz PC with gig ram ) When I removed One Care the performance returned immediately.

Hopefully the released version will be more streamlined
Pricing sure seems good
Doug
Posted by Silver_2000 (51 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Don't count on it.
Don't count on it.
Watch them turn it into another, "you'll get the update when we feel like giving it to you."
Scary.
Posted by Dead Soulman (245 comments )
Link Flag
With all due respect, Doug . . .
I don't need to test drive a Yugo to know it's a piece of junk. I don't need to sample a J Lo album to know she can't sing. And I don't need to buy M$ security software to know it's going to stink. You've already discussed your own operating complaints about it, therefore supporting the counterfactual. Peace, Dougie.
Posted by HansinYabutay (31 comments )
Link Flag
Suckers!
Ha Ha HA!!!!!!!
Posted by (96 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Amen, Jesus
If Jesus said it, it's good enough for me. Any comments, Buddha?
Posted by HansinYabutay (31 comments )
Link Flag
Gotta Be Kidding!
PT Barnum said it: "There's a sucker born every minute." Some folks will actually buy it, just like some shareholders believed Ken Lay . . . until it was too late.
Posted by HansinYabutay (31 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Let me get this straight...
The company that makes the software that is so hole-ridden that viruses, trojans and others are easy and popular, is now going to sell software to fix those holes? Hello?!? This is like a roofer leaving holes in your ceiling and charging you for a tarp.
Posted by mrspytak (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
RE: Let me get this straight...
Doesn't Apple charge for their bug fixes? Except they call it an upgrade. At least MS puts out bug fixes and service packs for free.
Posted by itworker--2008 (130 comments )
Link Flag
WRONG
This is a company who is charging to protects its users so that those who write Malware will have less success than they do now. Any OS can be infected by a virus, only an idiot would think that they are immune from a virus attack because they use Linux or they use Mac. If i was a virus writer I would rather have one careless user than a system full of holes.
Posted by robertdohnert (12 comments )
Link Flag
If MS made cars you'd be dead by now
If MS made cars they'd be out of business by now. Absolutely no attention to safety or quality is incorporated in the kernel code and now they admit that by hawking this piece of junk ware. Id love a version of windows with no media player, browser or any other bell and whistle that potentially turns into a security risk. Maybe it is time to switch to a UNIX based system.
Posted by Pete Saman (99 comments )
Reply Link Flag
This is going off track
This isn't time for the mac/windows/linux debate....my question from the first post stands...why would I pay a) the company that made a weak OS to protect it and b)for protection I am currently getting for free from companies that have been in this business for years and have a sterling reputation?

Where is the value proposition in me coughing up $50 here?
Posted by KsprayDad (375 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Wrong question.
Guy: Would you sleep with me for a million dollars?
Girl: OK.
Guy: Would you sleep with me for five bucks?
Girl: What kind of person do you think I am?
Guy: We've already established that. Now we're haggling over
price.

You've already bought the weak OS. Why wouldn't they think
they can stick you again?
Posted by Macsaresafer (802 comments )
Link Flag
OneCare lets viruses attack, allows spyware in, other numerous issues...
...prediction based on all other Microsoft products. Previous antispyware product included.
Posted by aabcdefghij987654321 (1721 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Rant On, Anti-Microsoft!!!
If you don't like OneCare, then don't buy it. There will be many that will---not everybody is going to read CNET News.com, or any other tech forum. There will be plenty of people to invest in this product, whether anybody here likes it or not---there are many people that learn to "trust" Windows, out of the box. Rant against it or not, it doesn't matter. I believe it's admirable that Microsoft is now attempting to solve the problems in their defective forms of OS---as far as Vista, no one is really sure---the only people that have tested it are beta testers, and we all know betas.

So rant on, anti-Microsoft---Get your kicks out of slamming Microsoft an a daily basis. Get your kicks out of ranting against Microsoft every time it attempts to do something positive for its products. If this were a Mac or Linux article, the first person that spoke against them would be flamed or trolled.

By the way, I don't plan to purchase OneCare, and I believe it's wrong that Microsoft is charging money for it. But I do admire Microsoft's intention to become more involved with security, although it's a bit late---they should have started over ten years ago.
Posted by Michael G. (185 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Much truth... but...
I also don't plan to purchase OneCare, and I agree that it's wrong
that Microsoft is charging money for it.

On the other hand, I find Microsoft's rather belated intention to
become more involved with security to be a insult to the Windows
users, especially the propective Vista customers.

Yes, Microsoft should have started over ten years ago.
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Link Flag
Mike is frustrated :)
Microsoft has patched their software here and there and Onecare can be seen as a quick response to problems (its easier to make a virus signature than to patch code . . . patches take weeks sometimes and a virus signature in about a day or two.). I still think its wrong for microsoft to charge for something that they could have been the problem of. On the other hand this software will cover other software too.

Like Michael said. Its all beta (vista and onecare). I personally choose not to use them and I don't believe they are worth the money. Its your choice.
Posted by (6 comments )
Link Flag
i'm happy to see MSFT go into this biz...
...cause at bare minimum, it'll force the consumer and SMB market away from lousy and sinfully overpriced products from Symantec and McAfee. the issue here is not whether you or i will buy MSFT's suite (which i assure you they'll wind up giving away to MSN and Verizon/AT&T-DSL customers for free because they have to in order to remain competitive with the other ISP's) - the issue is that MSFT's product is better than none at all and will help you and i protect against threats from folks who don't employ appropriate or any security currently.
Posted by i_made_this (302 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Will It?
If consumers don't like the over-priced and over-hyped security products on the market, what do they do about it? They go to a freeware site and download a better and free alternative, from among the hundreds to choose from. The folks that use Avast and AVG anti-virus verify through hundreds of testimonies that these products are better than Symantec and other commercial products. A lot of people that buy new computers will buy OneCare, however---they'll want the consistency. Why buy Symantec or McAfee if you can buy Microsoft OneCare with a brand new Windows PC?
Posted by Michael G. (185 comments )
Link Flag
Not anti Microsoft...this is just a conflict of interest
Not anti Microsoft...this is just a clear conflict of interest. Plain and simple. Microsoft needs to make a more secure OS and it should not charge for protection if they made the OS unsecure in the first palce. Apple can make a secure OS Microsoft should be able to handle the task as well. This program provides incentive for Microsoft not to secure their products.
Posted by Stan Johnson (322 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Wait and see attitude
I think I'll wait and see before I'd jump on the Microsoft protection
wagon. While I freely admit I have no love for Microsoft and its
products, it makes me unconfortable that I am buying a product
from the company who's OS has had several serious security issues.
Posted by scottae316 (10 comments )
Reply Link Flag
OS Extortion...
Let's see, MS makes an OS subject to a plague of security flaws, worms, viruses, trojan horses, malware, spyware, adware, and a never ending job for end users to maintain THEN has the gall to charge you yearly to protect you from their inadequate and insecure OS. This would be funny if it wasn't so tragic! A $50 yearly "non-patch", what a joke, er... Not.
Posted by jbc94523 (15 comments )
Reply Link Flag
They're Crazy
Something should be done about this. On one hand, Microsoft sells us knowingly defective products. On the other they have the gall to charge for fixing them. That doesn't make any sense. Let's go over their track record, uh:

Windows 1.0 was no good, so they tried a different version, so bad it was never released. Good for them, so far.

Windows 3.0 had many flaws, but was released anyway. We had to pay extra then, for 3.1.

Windows 95 was a newer system with many advantages over 3.1.

Then came 98 with it's two revisions, mostly fixing up 95. It was very unstable though.

Around that time they built a business version that was much more stable, but didn't fix the stability of the home version until XP Home. You had to pay extra to get the stability they already had worked out. Constantly rebooting was considered alright for the average user.

Now, they not only knowingly put out a defective product before proper testing, full of many security holes, but insist on leaving the holes in. From their current admissions, they can fix it up but want more money from us for that service.

I imagine the new version coming up will have those same holes so Microsoft can continue to charge for fixing them.

It doesn't make any sense to this poor rodent, none at all.

Already, before it's even being sold, holes in the security program have been found. Jeeze!!

When are you human creatures going to learn? Switch to Linux or Mac. Don't give them fools more of your money. If you want to throw your money down a hole, throw it down a rathole so us guys can buy our pizza with it.

Oscar Rat
Posted by Oscar Rat (54 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Viruses and Linux
One good reason we linux users don't have malware is that, unlike Windows, we get our programs and upgrades from secure sites and only after extensive testing. They are only added to the distributions after, first, being upgraded by picked personnel, then going through an extensive ladder of testing before being officially added to the stable versions. I use Debian, and am currently mad because it's taking so long for OpenOffice, a good office suite to go through the testing phrase. But, one I get it, it will probably be at least as good as Microsoft Office, and be free for the download. And I'll be able to put a copy on all of my computers for the same price, free.

Oscar Rat

Oscar Rat
Posted by Oscar Rat (54 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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