What's ahead for Windows OneCare?

Written by Wil Harris

February 7, 2006 | 11:44

Tags: #ars-technica #live #norton #onecare #security #virus #windows #windows-update

Companies: #mcafee #microsoft #scan

An interesting article on Windows OneCare is up on Ars Technica today, examining how the security software is going to be sold.

For those not on the ball, in the loop, ahead of the curve or in any other way having a clue, OneCare is Microsoft's new anti-virus product. More accurately, it's a service: rather than paying £30 for a boxed copy of the software, as one does with Norton Anti-Virus, OneCare operates on a subscription model. Pricing is looking like roughly £25 a year for protection.

OneCare will include, according to Ars:

"A virus scanner, a more full-featured firewall than is included with Windows XP SP2, a backup utility, an automatic scheduler for virus scanning and disk defragmenting, and integration with Windows Update."

No details about whether Microsoft's anti-spyware software will also be included. The software is due to leave beta and be fully available by the summer, quite probably before Windows Vista comes along. Can it compete in a market with Norton and McAfee? We'd suggest it wouldn't take much to be better than Norton, it would simply have to not be a memory-hogging, attention-grabbing annoying bit of code. Some would suggest that, being Microsoft, it'll just lever all its other products to integrate with OneCare, making it the default Windows anti-virus package a la Windows Media Player.

All in all, isn't this a cynical move from Microsoft? Isn't it a bit harsh to create an insecure operating system, then charge to protect it? Shouldn't the features of OneCare simply be part of the normal Windows installation at no additional cost? Let us know what you think on these issues over in the forum.
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