Microsoft Free Antivirus: Coming Soon

Dennis Faas's picture

The antivirus software industry may change dramatically now that Microsoft has announced it will be offering free protection in the near future. The Redmond-based giant has revealed that it will terminate sales of its popular Windows Live OneCare security suite and will instead offer a slimmed-down version called "Morro" in its place -- for free.

The switch will be effective June 30, 2009 and could have homicidal ramifications for other popular antivirus makers like McAfee, Symantec, and Trend Micro. (Source:

Some are heralding the move as a sort of socialist godsend. The free protection means that lower-end users who struggle to afford their computer can actually protect themselves and their files. Most antivirus programs range from $20 to $50, but the majority, like Norton Antivirus, creep much closer to the high end. Supporters of the Microsoft move believe that Norton, Symantec, and Trend Micro have only themselves to blame by profiting each year from programs that don't necessarily add many new features but do require a whole new subscription.

Microsoft is calling Morro a "streamlined solution" that "will provide comprehensive protection from malware including viruses, spyware, rootkits and trojans. This new solution, to be offered at no charge to consumers, will be architected for a smaller footprint that will use fewer computing resources, making it ideal for low-bandwidth scenarios or less powerful PCs."

Senior director of product management for Microsoft's Online Service and Windows Division Amy Barzdukas believes that customers are the ones who really profit from their company's unexpected move. "Customers around the world have told us that they need comprehensive, ongoing protection from new and existing threats," she said. "This new, no-cost offering will give us the ability to protect an even greater number of consumers, especially in markets where the growth of new PC purchases is outpaced only by the growth of malware." (Source:

Those embracing the news had better wait until July 2009 to get too excited. In this business, as in any business, you get what you pay for. Microsoft admits Morro is "streamlined" -- in other words, a bare-bones program that may very well struggle to keep up with spyware goons and hackers that are constantly improving and adapting to more powerful full-priced programs.

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