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Microsoft Debuts Free Security Essentials Application Suite

Microsoft Corp. on Tuesday pushed live the beta iteration of its free consumer security software, dubbed as “Microsoft Security Essentials”, to help consumers handle malware and virus intrusions better.

Initially codenamed as “Morro”, the software will be available to first 75,000 customers using Windows Vista, Windows XP and Windows 7 machines, in four countries, including United States, Brazil, Israel, and China.

The new security suite from the labs of Microsoft comprises of all the fundamental features that users could expect from a free security tool: a scheduler, a real-time protection shield, multiple integrated and customisable scan features, protection from rootkits, automatic definition file updates, to name a few.

Microsoft Security Essential will be replacing Windows Live OneCare, the software maker's consumer subscription antivirus tool, which is set to be phased out by the end of this month.

The software is tailored to have smaller footprint and to consume less computing power, making it apt for less-powerful PCs and in considerably low bandwidth scenarios. In addition to this, the tool will present users with antimalware aimed at tackling viruses, internet worms, Trojan horses, botnets, as well as spyware.

Security vendors offering competitive antivirus applications, including AVG and Avast, asserted that the new tool from Microsoft won't have a considerable impact over their business, and seems unlikely to snare significant share from established vendors.

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Our Comments

Morro might be a newcomer to the market but the fact that it is launched by Microsoft will make many vendors on the market uncomfortable even though they won't publicly admit it. Since it is free as well, it will encourage people to test and try the application suite before possibly upgrade to a full price version.

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Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.