Here's good news for consumers but bad news for the antivirus industry - Microsoft will be shipping antivirus protection as standard with the Windows 8 operating system.
That's right. Microsoft is adding features from its Security Essentials program, which is currently available as a separate download for Windows users, to the Windows Defender package already built into Windows. This means that Windows 8 users will get out-of-the-box protection against malware, along with firewall and parental controls from within Windows without requiring users hunt down a separate download or buy new software.
But wait, there's more! Another new security feature being baked into Windows 8 is protection from bootable USB drives that are infected with malware.
One possible downside of including a single antivirus package in with millions of Windows installations is that it could create a security monoculture where the majority of systems are protected by a single application. Attack that one application, and it could be jackpot for the bad guys.
While consumers are going to be happy about this new addition to Windows, the antivirus industry isn't going to be happy. Several companies threatened to kick off when Microsoft first offered Security Essentials to users via Windows Update. This move is likely to kick off more talk of lawsuits.
[UPDATE: Question just in - What happens if you install another antivirus program?
From what I understand, it will work like Microsoft Security Essentials in that it will automatically shut down if it detects another security program installed.]