Microsoft is releasing a beta of their new antivirus product. Previously Microsoft announced that they would discontinue OneCare.
The choice of the name “Security Essentials” is amusing. I’m not in the camp of those who think that you can’t have “Microsoft” and “security” in the same sentence, but just the same, Microsoft does say “If you already have antivirus software installed you probably don’t need this service.” That doesn’t sound much like an essential to me!
The other amusing aspect is that the name is “Microsoft Security Essentials” which is plural. Anti-virus is only one aspect of security.
All jokes about the name aside, Microsoft hopes that their free solution will get people who currently do not use antivirus software to install the Microsoft offering. Given the numerous choices for free antivirus software out there, I do not see how this will be effective, but more power to Microsoft for trying.
I addressed the potential impact of Microsoft entering the antivirus industry at the Virus Bulletin conference back in 2006. Back then I predicted that this would have little impact on the market and it has had little impact, except for pricing. OneCare introduced a 3 PC pricing model that some other vendors have followed. OneCare was almost free and I don’t see a free offering changing the landscape much.
I am reminded of an ad I once saw for Shoei motorcycle helmets. The ad said “If you have a $10 head wear a $10 helmet.”
At ESET we are confident that an abundance of consumers will continue to choose a quality product based upon the track record, performance, effectiveness, and support, rather than simply choosing what is free.
The word “Microsoft” makes this a news story, not much else does though.
Director of Technical Education
Author ESET Research, We Live Security