Microsoft's announcement this week of plans for a new, free antimalware service -- and the end of life of its Windows Live OneCare product -- has spawned a bunch of new questions among customers, partners and industry watchers.
While Windows Live OneCare was no barn burner, in terms of marketshare, Microsoft typically gives its products/services at least three releases before killing them. And the 3.0 release of OneCare was imminent -- in fact, the Microsoft Update team blogged at the end of October that customers should expect to see it soon.
So what led Microsoft to decide so quickly to kill OneCare -- and to rush to pull it from the channel? The Softies won't say when or exactly why the decision was made. All they will say is that Microsoft believes a lighter-weight, free solution will be more optimal for users of smaller form-factor PCs, here and in developing countries.
Over the past couple of days, I had a chance to ask Microsoft a few more questions about the disappearance of OneCare and sudden appearance of Morro (a codename and service that no one I've spoken with has heard a peep about until this week).
Here are a few more tidbits (my questions and a spokesperson from Microsoft's Windows team's answers):
Q: Was anyone threatening MS with a lawsuit (antitrust or otherwise) over OneCare? Is that why Microsoft is dropping the product?
A: The decision to discontinue sales of OneCare and distribute a free antimalware product, code named "Morro," was made for sound business reasons and was not driven by any legal concerns--litigation or otherwise. Q: Will Moro be available to users in the U.S. as well as overseas?
A: At a minimum, the new solution will initially be available to consumers in all markets where Windows Live OneCare is currently available. It will also be broadly available for download at no additional charge. We will announce more details closer to the solution being available. Q: Do we know yet whether Morro will be a Windows Live service?
A: We will announce more details closer to the solution being available.
Q: Will Morro be an optional download, like the Windows Live Essentials suite? (or part of this suite)?
A: The new no-cost solution will be a separate download and available for download at no additional charge. We don't have anything else to add at this time.
(Unlike some pundits, I don't think Microsoft could/will be hit with an antitrust complaint for providing free antimalware software/services, as other vendors already do this. If Microsoft makes Morro part of the Windows Live Essentials suite and provides links to Morro service as part of Windows 7, I think it might be opening itself up to more potential legal challenges. All that said, IANAL.) Q: Will Morro work with Windows Defender? Will it replace Defender? Will Defender still be "part" of Windows 7?
A: This announcement does not impact Defender. Windows Defender detects and removes known spyware only. Windows Defender does not protect against the full breadth of malicious software, and specifically does not prevent viruses, worms, Trojans, and other malicious software from infecting your machine. The new no-cost solution will be a comprehensive antimalware solution.
What other OneCare/Morro questions are still on your mind?