updated 01:45 pm EDT, Tue June 23, 2009
MS Security Essentials out
Microsoft on Tuesday officially launched the Security Essentials beta protection software for viruses and spyware that includes Trojans, worms and other malicious software. Previously known by the Morro codename, the software is available to download now and carries no associated costs or subscription fees with it. Microsoft also stresses the software's ease of use, with automatic upgrades and a security icon that, when green, indicates users are protected.
The software is also said to be unobtrusive, alerting users only when their input is needed. Microsoft is touting the low it is not hardware intensive, and requires only 140MB of hard drive space. Users also need to have Windows IE 6.0 or newer or Mozilla Firefox 2.0 or newer installed.
This beta build is available to customers in the United States, Israel (English only), People's Republic of China (Simplified Chinese only) and Brazil (Brazilian Portuguese only). It is compatible with Windows XP Service Pack 2 or 3, Windows Vista and Windows 7 Beta or RC. Microsoft recommends users remove other anti-virus and anti-spyware programs before installing Microsoft Security Essentials beta in order to avoid performance problems.
The long in development software has already been controversial through both its admission of the continued risk of malware in Windows as well as potential antitrust concerns. While free antivirus tools are common for Windows and at times have more features, the built-in software may discourage competitors by leaving many content with existing apps. Major, subscription-based rivals like McAfee and Symantec often have their software bundled but will now have to compete with Microsoft's free option.
The Windows developer has hoped to mitigate fears by noting that other software will be stronger and that it won't exclude competitors.