onecareMicrosoft announced via a press release that they will be discontinuing OneCare, their current antivirus product, on June 30th, 2009. I don’t think this is very surprising considering how much criticism OneCare has received in the past. After all, I expected more out of OneCare than any other antivirus since Microsoft knows the ins and outs of Windows, and they should therefore be able to protect users better than any other product.

To make things a little more interesting Microsoft says that they will have a free product ready (code-named Morro) somewhere around the time that OneCare is discontinued. Here’s what they have to say about it:

Code-named “Morro,” this streamlined solution will be available in the second half of 2009 and will provide comprehensive protection from malware including viruses, spyware, rootkits and trojans. This new solution, to be offered at no charge to consumers, will be architected for a smaller footprint that will use fewer computing resources, making it ideal for low-bandwidth scenarios or less powerful PCs. As part of Microsoft’s move to focus on this simplified offering, the company also announced today that it will discontinue retail sales of its Windows Live OneCare subscription service effective June 30, 2009.

The timing of all this is very interesting. Windows 7 is expected to be available around the middle of next year, which is when Microsoft will cutoff OneCare. My guess is that they didn’t want to spend the resources making OneCare compatible with Windows 7, but Morro will work it in addition to Vista and XP.

Honestly this is a really smart move by Microsoft. I have previously pondered whether it is really necessary for me to have an antivirus application running on my Vista machine, but for some reason it makes me feel a little bit safer. Using Microsoft’s resource-friendly Morro antivirus might be just the solution for me, because I know that with the UAC I already have enabled a lot of things won’t be able to slip by undetected.

Now if only they could bundle it with the operating system, but we know what kind of anti-trust issues would arise from that. ;)

P.S. It looks like they are killing off the Office 2007 subscription model called Equipt, which also comes packaged with OneCare.

There Are 9 Comments

  1. See [av-comparatives.org] then click on “Comparatives” on the left, then “Online Results” for the latest On-demand test… sorry, but they don’t want direct-linking.

    Considering MS’s poor showing in virus protection with OneCare (almost the worst detection rate of all the scanners (wow, McAfee is actually WORSE!) I’d recommend that everyone should pass on any virus scanner from them for now – maybe it would get better later. For now, AVG, Avast, and Avira all outperform these two handily.

    • Thanks Schwinn,

      I’ve been looking for a site just like this.
      Basing on their performance/detection rates – I’ll stick to Avira

      Cheers from Israel!

  2. I will stick with Avast. I am trying to ween myself from MS not make myself more reliant on them. I ditched MS Office for OpenOffice, IE for Firefox, Outlook Express for Thunderbird, and Messenger for Pidgin. I really want to ditch Windows for Linux but the game support is just not there and that is the only thing keeping me from ditching Windows.

  3. @dtanderson:

    I echo with your words. I don’t understand why Ryan said, “Honestly this is a really smart move by Microsoft.” I don’t think Microsoft is a smart company anymore. All they do is play the catching up game in a world they don’t understand—the Internet.

  4. Sounds awesome and I want it. Too bad the school’s internet service annoyingly requires their provided Symantec antivirus & clean access agent to get on the web. Oh well, eventually!

  5. This is pretty cool, I like that idea, but I wonder how this is going to affect the free AV vendors like AVG?

  6. Mohan wrote:
    This is pretty cool, I like that idea, but I wonder how this is going to affect the free AV vendors like AVG?

    AVG did more than enough damage to itself with their version 8 ;)

  7. Ryan, you don’t need AV on Vista. Just run with Limited User and UAC on and AV becomes redundant. Seriously.

  8. Schwinn wrote:
    Considering MS’s poor showing in virus protection with OneCare (almost the worst detection rate of all the scanners (wow, McAfee is actually WORSE!) I’d recommend that everyone should pass on any virus scanner from them for now – maybe it would get better later. For now, AVG, Avast, and Avira all outperform these two handily.

    From the sounds of it the new version will be better. They’ve said the new one will be done almost from scratch, and won’t just be a modification of OneCare.

    Omar Upegui wrote:
    I echo with your words. I don’t understand why Ryan said, “Honestly this is a really smart move by Microsoft.” I don’t think Microsoft is a smart company anymore. All they do is play the catching up game in a world they don’t understand—the Internet.

    The reason I think this is smart is because I see so many people running their computer without any antivirus protection or running without extremely outdated signatures. While Avast and AVG are great they haven’t become mainstream enough yet so most people don’t realize they can get antivirus protection without paying. I’m hoping Microsoft will be able to conquer that barrier.

    Mohan wrote:
    This is pretty cool, I like that idea, but I wonder how this is going to affect the free AV vendors like AVG?

    If it’s really as efficient as Microsoft is making it sound I’m guessing it will have a pretty big impact.

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