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OneCare Live and the battle for the desktop

Even though George Ou is right that anti-virus software doesn't belong on the desktop, there are strategic reasons why Microsoft wants you to keep it there.
Written by Phil Wainewright, Contributor on

Even though George Ou is right that anti-virus software doesn't belong on the desktop, there are strategic reasons why Microsoft wants you to keep it there. I set these out in my Febuary posting, OneCare Live secures the desktop for Microsoft:

"As we've already seen from the emergence of AJAX (and even more so when Windows Vista comes along with its inbuilt web services, integral RSS, and so on), users are looking for rich Web client experiences, and that will still require quite powerful local processing. The fantasy of a cut-down, maintenance-free network client will always be a pipedream. But users won't want to pay the futz penalty of having to look after such sophisticated local functionality for themselves. They'll expect their client machines to be managed and maintained from the network.

"... Clearly, if there's going to be a vendor with a presence on the user's desktop, in a position of trusted advisor on matters such as software upgrades, security and the like, then Microsoft has a firm self-interest in being that vendor."

That explains why Microsoft is being so aggressive in its pricing for the newly launched Windows Live OneCare service — and as I pointed out last week, it also explains why Microsoft bought Softricity.

That's why Microsoft, McAfee and Symantec will continue to ignore George Ou's advice about shifting anti-virus software off the desktop. Personally I would rather see it hosted in the network anyway, which I fully recognize is a big leap further than George would endorse.

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