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February 6, 2006

Windows OneCare Live due before summer

Posted by David Hunter at 6:33 PM ET.

After all the furor last week over the versioning of Microsoft’s upcoming antivirus product, Windows OneCare Live, and the effects on current antivirus vendors like Symantec, Joris Evers at CNET has dug up more information:

Microsoft plans to release its subscription security program before the summer and to challenge its main rivals on pricing, CNET has learned.

The Redmond, Wash., software giant plans to release the final version of OneCare before summer and to charge about $50 a year for the product, sources familiar with the company’s plans said Monday. The company is scheduled to announce the pricing and availability details later this week, they said. A Microsoft representative had no immediate comment.

Microsoft will sell OneCare purely on a subscription basis–a change from its (“the” is surely meant here – ed.) traditional box-based way of selling security software. Symantec and McAfee sell their boxed security suite products for $69.99, before any rebates, and then charge an annual renewal fee. However, both security incumbents have also been moving to a subscription model.

Actually, it’s not that much different – the price of the box covers the initial subscription period, although subsequent periods are less than the box price. In any case, a primary sales mechanism for current vendors is a short trial offer included with new PCs which obviates any box price issue.

Speaking of which, it will be interesting to see how OneCare is distributed. If a trial version or even a desktop link comes bundled with the operating system, expect the eyes of antitrust watchdogs everywhere to light up.

Filed under Antitrust, Coopetition, Legal, McAfee, OS - Client, Symantec, Windows Live OneCare

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