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Microsoft on Tuesday said it is changing its strategy for offering PC antivirus software, with plans to discontinue its subscription-based consumer security suite and instead offer individuals free software to protect their PCs.
Code-named Morro, the new offering will be available in the second half of 2009 and will protect against viruses, spyware, rootkits, and Trojans, the company said in a statement.
With the arrival of Morro, Microsoft plans to stop selling the Windows Live OneCare service, although the two services are not identical. Morro lacks OneCare's non-security features, such as printer sharing and automated PC tuneup. Morro will, however, use fewer resources than the subscription-based offering, making it better suited to low-bandwith systems and less powerful PCs.
Microsoft decided to switch to a free product because there are still so many PCs out there that lack any antivirus software.
forced the Lotus Suite/NotesThe IT for that product stunk, but then again, that wasn't email either.
bundled free software
MS isn't operating against the same type of rivals it did in the past. I think there's more of an awareness and wariness of their past practices, not to mention government oversight these days. What would we all say if (when) Google comes out with its own AV scanner package?
So I see no problem if Microsoft gives its product for free too. Besides, a GOOD antivirus and a GOOD firewall should be in a computer when I buy a new one.
E-mail, browser, firewall and antivirus are things I expect to have in my computer without having to pay for.
I think the need for antivirus is overhyped:
For years, I didn't have an antivirus installed. Just a firewall. Running free scans or installing trial versions of different products, viruses were sometimes found...in my delete folder in Outlook.
I bought an antivirus software about a year ago (NOD, supposed to be a decent one). It didn't find anything but managed to block my local testing server, so when I figured it was the problem, I removed it. Lately, I had a few perf problems so I picked NOD again, downloaded the latest version and the latest virus signatures, and ran an full scan, max options.
Next morning, what do you know? 5 viruses found, 3 in my junk folder and 2 in my delete folder. It also created an Infected Items folder so that the viruses that used to arrive in my Junk mail folder now arrive in my "Infected Items" folder. Great. Now I have to delete it from there and it goes to the Deleted folder where I can delete it for real.
Plus computer performance is often so badly affected by antivirus software that you wish you just had a virus instead. I remember back when I had Norton...
All in all, the whole "You must have an antivirus otherwise something real bad will happen to your computer" is largely bull. Just my opinion.
Truth me told, a firewall is great for anyone who isn't an idiot. However, it doesnt protect you from yourself. You can click on a dodgy link, download (particularly P2P) a bad file, open an attachment or click a IM-bourne link and get a virus. Firewalls will not protect you here. Education might, but it hasn't so far.
However, your point about slowing down the computer is certainly valid. I have seen AV software slow performance by up to 90% (yes, I really do mean 90%).