Computer Crime Research Center


Microsoft will sell security for windows

Date: February 09, 2006
Source: Washington Post

Microsoft Corp. announced yesterday that beginning in June it would start charging $49.95 a year for Windows Onecare Live, a (currently free) managed-security service designed to protect Windows PCs from viruses, spyware and other Internet attacks.

Leaving aside the question of whether consumers will move in droves to pay Microsoft to fix problems that it is at least partly responsible for, the real question seems to be whether the other anti-virus vendors will lower prices and/or change their licensing terms to allow their products to be used on more than one machine.

That's because Microsoft has said it will allow customers to install the software on up to three different Windows machines, a practice virtually unheard of at that price point in the consumer PC security market.

Microsoft's subscription rate comes in at the lower end of the pricing scale set by the other major vendors offering bundles of anti-spyware, anti-virus and firewall protection software, but none of the major players in the consumer market -- including Symantec, McAfee or Trend Micro -- currently allows customers to install a subscription on more than one PC for that price.

Trend is the only vendor that even comes close, marketing a 3-license copy of its PC-cillin suite for $89.99. Both Symantec and McAfee charge $119.99 for a three-license purchase of their Internet security suites.

Windows Onecare Live director Dennis Bonsall said Microsoft's pricing strategy came out of feedback from home and small-business users who he said repeatedly cited "the hassle factor" of having to deal with multiple anti-virus subscriptions across multiple PCs as a reason for simply not installing any protection at all.

"We found that problem seemed to interfere with a lot of people's willingness to protect that second or third PC that was maybe just for use by the spouse or the kids," Bonsall said. "So we saw a strong demand for protecting the whole household, and we went with that feedback."

In an era when many households now have multiple Windows PCs and handheld devices spread across a mesh of wired and wireless networks, it is only natural that the anti-virus industry should shift away from the one-license-per-machine model. The company that probably has the most to lose from Microsoft's offering -- Symantec -- is expected this fall to roll out its own managed-security offering dubbed Genesis, a subscription-based service that bundles many of the features found in OneCare Live, including anti-spyware, anti-virus, PC performance tweaking tools and data backup utilities. Symantec's offering also will include anti-phishing and identity-theft prevention tools that the company gleaned through its 2005 purchase of WholeSecurity.

"While we’re not announcing the specific number of licenses that will be included with it, Genesis will be a service that covers the needs of the entire household," said Tom Powledge, Symantec's director of product management.
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2006-02-09 15:04:59 - One last thought Bill, after all the holes... Skubbydue
2006-02-09 14:55:39 - The gall Bill Gates has to sell security... Skubbydue
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