It’s not official, but Robert McMillan has the scoop at PCWorld:
Microsoft will complete its entry into the desktop security market next week with the general release of its Windows Live OneCare antivirus software.
OneCare, which also includes backup and PC-tuning software, has been available for free in beta form since November, but as of next Thursday customers will be able to purchase the final, supported product, according to sources familiar with Microsoft’s plans.
OneCare will cost $49.95 per year, which will cover licenses for as many as three Windows XP PCs. That means “98 percent of homes in the U.S. will be able to buy one subscription and be able to cover all of their PCs,” Microsoft Group Program Manager Brian Hall said in an interview earlier this year.
Since that’s about what the existing vendors charge for one machine, it’s a new price point in the market.
Market leader Symantec, which sued Microsoft last week claiming misappropriation of intellectual property, is clearly anxious about the software giant’s entry into its market space.
Company executives have said that they expect to compete against Microsoft by offering superior technology and staying one step ahead of their new competitor. “Microsoft is very much focusing on the old-world problems of viruses and worms,” according to Symantec Chief Financial Officer James Beer, speaking Monday at the JP Morgan Technology Conference, in San Francisco. “We’re focusing on what we would call the new-world problems.”
These “new-world” problems seem to be phishing, identity theft and related issues.
I tried the OneCare beta, but had problems with excessive CPU utilization so gave it up. I assume that in due course it will be a “good enough” offering for most people, so the question is whether the price and the fact that it is from Microsoft gives them any leverage in the market. It will also be interesting to see the extent to which Microsoft bundles OneCare subscription opportunities in the client OS, particularly Vista.