Microsoft’s experiment with a paid antimalware offering is over. The company announced on Tuesday that it is killing its Windows Live OneCare offering in June 2009 in favor of a free security suite code-named “Morro.” The new offering will include the same antivirus, antispyware and other security features as OneCare does now, but will not have the other capabilities the paid product has. Morro is designed to be a strictly antimalware product and will be offered as a free download for XP, Vista and Windows 7 users in the second half of next year.
One interesting point in this is what this decision might mean for Microsoft’s Forefront Client Security offering, the company’s enterprise antimalware and security suite. I doubt that it will mean the demise of Forefront, as Microsoft has a whole lot of time, money and energy invested in the Forefront brand and its presence in the enterprise. It’s a lot easier to pull the plug on a limited consumer offering like OneCare than it is to kill a product like Forefront, which enterprises depend on to protect their critical assets. Microsoft has spent a lot of time convincing IT security staffs that their antimalware product is as good or better than McAfee’s or Symantec’s or Trend Micro’s, and they’re not about to give up that real estate anytime soon.