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MS to give Windows free anti-malware suite

updated 02:20 pm EST, Wed November 19, 2008

Microsoft Morro

Microsoft late Tuesday took a step towards tightening security on Windows by announcing a significant expansion of its anti-malware efforts. The company plans to launch a new, free software suite currently nicknamed "Morro" that will replace the previously pay-only OneCare service and guard against spyware and viruses. The new project shares the same scanning and cleaning engine as OneCare and enterprise-grade apps but is billed as more focused, dropping "non-security" components like PC tuning and consuming less of the CPU and memory.

The software is primarily meant to combat low adoption rates as a whole and especially in poorer countries, where many residents can't afford the often subscription-based suites from other firms or aren't aware of free options. These unguarded PCs often pose the greatest risk by serving as infection points for more serious viruses, Endpoint chief Roger Kay tells Microsoft.

Microsoft says the software will be optional and ship for Windows XP, Vista and 7 systems sometime during the second half of 2009. OneCare is being phased out for retail on June 30th as a result of the move, though the company hasn't said if or when it plans to phase out the service through other channels.

The introduction of "Morro" is potentially critical for Microsoft, whose platform has been the target of more attacks and which necessitated a major turnaround in security policy during the Windows XP era and has been the subject of criticism from rivals less subject to these attacks, including Apple. However, the company's move also raises concerns of unfair competition as it will provide much of the same functionality as pay-only apps from McAfee and Norton as well as partly or entirely free options such as AVG.

By Electronista Staff
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  1. ershler

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Dec 2001


    I smell some lawsuits

    If MS starts giving away anti-malware software , does anyone think that software companies like McAfee et al are just going to quietly disappear?

  1. nat

    Junior Member

    Joined: Mar 2002



    this is what they do. this all is they do.

    the real reason? onecare is failing in the marketplace.

  1. Guest

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 1999



    Just a curiosity, in Spanish "morro" means literally "lack of shame". I am dying to see it marketed in Spain and Latin America...

  1. ricardogf

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2003


    Even funnier...

    And in Portuguese it may mean "I die"...nothing could be more appropriate... ;)

  1. Tommy Peters

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Dec 2006



    A poster said buying a Windows PC is analogous to a car without brakes. It appears Ballmer read that post and took heed. It's about time MS took responsibility and offered brakes with its engines.

  1. Guest

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 1999


    Conflict of interest

    How interesting that they are going to sell software that plugs the security holes that they have in their system rather than repairing the security holes in the first place.

    If all the anti virus companies go out of business then what is to keep Microsoft from slacking off like they do all their software that has no competition? Look at IE it got into a pretty sad state before FireFox started giving them a run for their money, THEN they started to implement more changes in IE.

    Selling their own antivirus software should be illegal.

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