Will Microsoft Security Essentials (Morro) dent commercial antivirus sales?

Microsoft has finally lifted the lid on its free consumer security program called Microsoft Security Essentials, previously known by the codename Morro.

Microsoft has finally lifted the lid on its free consumer security program called Microsoft Security Essentials, previously known by the codename Morro.

Microsoft Security Essentials is a replacement to Live OneCare, which was a commercial (that is, paid for) product. Unlike Onecare, folks wanting protection from malware won't need to get the credit card out once Microsoft Security Essentials is out. It won't be the first free antivirus solution, but it will be made available to anyone running a genuine copy of Windows, and you can be sure that Microsoft will be pushing it hard.

There are a lot of unanswered questions relating to Microsoft Security Essentials, but the question that I'm interested in now is whether a free antivirus product that's a few clicks away from millions of users running Windows on their home PCs. A question that will be on the lips of executives at security firms will be - Will people be renewing their annual AV subscription once Microsoft Security Essentials is available?

Other questions worth pondering:

  • Will price (or the lack of it) override quality?
  • Will Microsoft Security Essentials make us safer, or would a single dominant AV product make it a huge target for hackers?
  • Do people trust Microsoft enough to protect them from malware?

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