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

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

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

TOPICS: Security, Microsoft

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?

Topics: Security, Microsoft

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  • Microsoft doesn't conjure up "security" in my mind ...

    ... but Ed Bott has an interesting article describing a study that shows OneCare (and apparently Morro uses the same engine and definitions) scored among the top of the tested products.

    That opened up the possibility for me to give it a try. Maybe this product will change my opinion.
    • OneCare...

      The truth is that OneCare failed very early on for a very short period of time (in fact, only one or two months initially), and it has never looked back.

      My only gripe against OneCare was that it was too "noisy" prompting for damn near every little thing. According to the reports, MSE is pretty much silent which is exactly the way it is meant to be.

      Also, OneCare never caused system slowdowns the way most AV packages do. Chalk it up to the team having some better tie-ins being part of Microsoft or whatever you want, but what matters is that it works.

      The sad part is-- for competitors-- there's not going to be anything they can do about it, because it's being offered freely as a choice that users must opt-in to get.
      • Spynet, not onecare

        caused the noise, you agreed to listen to the noise to help the community identify processes. "Membership" in spynet was not the default.

        • You're in Spynet regardless

          By default, it's set to "basic membership" which only collects information about scan results. The higher level membership allows you to give feedback on any detection.
      • One Care

        your right it was too noisy, i was always fiddeling with it. But it had alot of good innovations, like hooking up 3 pc's. I think M$ knows more about virus's then anyone since they are always writing code to cover their back door. Now perhaps they are starting work on the front door. Think about it don't it make sense.
    • Perfect Timing . . .


      You are correct and a significant % of PC users
      will take M$ up on this free product in this
      economy. My gut tells me that M$ didn't want
      OneCare to be too good. Now, they realize that
      Windows needs a fully integrated security
      suite. With Windows being such a HUGE security
      target, why should the consumer be required to
      pay for 3rd party security software? It makes
      absolutely no sense. Moreover, it will give M$
      the justification to not have to lower prices
      quite so much as time passes. Finally, W7 will
      easily be as good or better than Snow Leopard
      in many critical categories. Consequently, with
      an free, integrated security suite, the last
      remaining FUD Apple has had will become much
      less relevant. And, maybe M$ will surprise us
      with a near $30 upgrade for W7 Premium.
  • Absolutely!

    1) I have been recommending OneCare and AVG to users since 2005, depending on their circumstances. I can't wait to write off both of them with one unanimous choice in Security Essentials.

    2) To its critics, I will remind you that OneCare only failed various performance tests ONCE, and it has since been among the top 3 performers since 2007. MSE uses the exact same engine which gives it a nice head start.

    3) You certainly can't beat the price. In fact, depending on its licensing, I'm probably going to deploy it immediately in my business and replace the Trend Micro solution currently in use.
    • AVG is terrible

      AVG Free offers no rootkit protection, I wouldn't recommend it to any of my customers.

      Avira is a substantially better product.
      • The free version maybe

        But the paid version of avira slows my webook to a crawl but AVG pro works fine on it.
        And Avira only has about 2-3% better detection too.
        • Well

          I just don't trust AVG. It's a junk product.

          Avira doesn't slow down any of my systems, but I'm not running it on any really slow computers either.

          I'm hoping MSE stands the hardcore tests because it's SUPER lightweight and a pretty kick ass program.
          • Avira is fantastic

            I switched to Avira (from McAfee) about a year ago and enjoyed it's excellent protection without slowing my (older) machine to a crawl. If MSE can do the same I'll switch without hesitation...
      • AVG was awesome until 8 now just bloatware

        I loved AVG FREE Edition but, they ruin it with version 8. Now it just a big piece of bloatware crap.

        I have switched to Avira FREE edition which has a nag screen to buy the pro but, you can disable that. It works just as good if not better then AVG 6 and 7 did.
      • Well, AVG is super.

        It is a bit unfair to blame AVG for something it never claimed to provide, isn't it? IMHO, AVG is fast, reliable, efficient and absolutely non obtrusive as far as resources consumption is concerned. It is a well known, well established AV solution, free for life. For what is worth, it greatly outnumbers other AVs' downloads in Download.com. If there is one thing I do not like it is the lack of extensive virus information in their online virus database. -dp-
  • It SHOULD dent security product sales

    Security software relies on operating system flaws... their entire business model is based on an OS developer to not properly secure their product.

    Microsoft is now securing their product, which they should do- so security products become worthless.

    We see this happen all the time, aTrackDog became worthless when Google started notifying users of application updates on Android. Junk email software is becoming worthless as services like AOL filter junk email already and Outlook/Thunderbird do the same.

    The business model for security products is a weak one, they should be happy they have lasted as long as they have.
    • Wrong way of thinking.

      The good way is to (a) recognize and accept that Windows is insecure by design; and then (b) fix that.
      Alternative (the wrong way) is to let the crap continue, and slap an 'antivirus' band aid on it. In essence it's capitulation, and saying you don't know how to fix your product.
      • Windows by design

        retains alot of legacy code to maintain backwards compatibility. There is your "broken by design" source. It is often that legacy code which is then targeted by the internet nasties that like to roam around.

        Should Microsoft just up and decide to remove that code, you would see [i]alot[/i] more compatibility issues than Vista did.

        Have a look at Vista for example: It was the first time in a long time Microsoft updated the code base, because of that it is less susceptible to malware than it's older brother XP which was still using most of the old 9x/NT code. That is why Vista had the compatibility issues it did. That updated code broke alot of things...

        Personally I believe we are seeing the start of Microsoft attempting to fight back on its own without the help of third party crapware. And frankly, I think they are doing a bang up job...
        The one and only, Cylon Centurion
  • With the way Norton or McCaffee runs...

    I wouldn't doubt it. Best of All its free, updates itself three times daily, once a month for core updates, and requires no subscription.

    Just point me to the download!
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • Update Frequency

      I think Ed Bott might have said something about the update. If I read him correctly, MSE definitions will be udpated three times on the server daily, but are downloaded only once per day to users' PCs.

      That said, let me in on the download link as well!
  • I will Try It

    Heck, it is Free. It also uses the same scanning engine as MS's Forefront products, which are ICSA Labs certified. More than I can say for some mainstream pay-for AV products. The downside, like OneCare, is it will probably have very few configuration options. Once reason I dumped OneCare. But for the average family PC, it could be a serious competitor to the overly expensive and resource hogging Norton and McAffe products.
  • Anyone concerned with privacy?

    Looking at how Morro works, it looks like it acts as a middleman between you and the internet. When you download, it intercepts it and virus-checks it BEFORE it gets to your computer. Seems to me that M$ gets all this information about who you are, what you're downloading, etc. That's information that I DON'T want M$ to have on me! Am I right here? Are you concerned?
    Roger Ramjet