Microsoft has announced that it will stop selling the Live Onecare security package and replace it by a free application called Morro to help protect users from malware, virii, spyware and phishing attempts.
Onecare will be replaced by Morro by June 2009, a few months before Windows 7 is released. Microsoft has already committed itself to releasing three versions of Morro to cater for three separate OSes.
Microsoft has been selling Live OneCare for around £25, including licensing and updating for 3 PCs.
One can expect Morro to have a smaller footprint - and therefore require less resources - than Onecare and work in low-bandwidth environments and Microsoft has also confirmed that it will release paid security solutions for the corporate market.
The move highlights Microsoft ambition to capture the growing market of low-power devices epitomised by the Netbook phenomenon and ends the short life of Windows Live Onecare Service, three years after its first beta version was launched.
But already, Microsoft competitors like Norton and Sophos could potentially ask the US regulatory bodies to look into potential antitrust concerns. Although Microsoft will not, like Internet Explorer, bundle Morro with its Operating System, the fact that it is a free download that could have a devastating effect on the security ecosystem.
Commenting on the announcement, Microsoft's Amy Barzdukas, said that “Customers around the world have told us that they need comprehensive, ongoing protection from new and existing threats, and we take that concern seriously, 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.”
Techradar is also reporting that Equipt, a Microsoft package that included Live Onecare, Microsoft Office Live Workspace and Office Home and Student 2007, will be phased out, just one month after it was released.