Microsoft announced that Windows OneCare Live codename "A1", which has been in public beta testing since November 2005, is going to launch in early June of this year. The service, which offers an "all-in-one, automatic and self-updating PC care service" will have a price tag of $49.95 USD annual subscription for up to three different computers. Over 200,000 current beta testers will have the chance to buy the subscription at an introductory rate of $19.95 between April 1 and 31, 2006.
The service is similar to the PC Satisfaction Trial that Microsoft experimented with in 2003 and 2004. Although Microsoft has made significant progress in security credibility, it's still unclear how willing customers will take to the security suite over other products from McAfee or Symantec.
In an interview with the AP, Ryan Hamlin, general program manager of Microsoft's technology Care and Safety Group, said Microsoft is trying to provide protection for customers who don't have any or out of date security software. Microsoft plans to market to these consumers, which the company estimates could be 70% of consumer users, through traditional retailers and the web.
In addition to providing anti-virus and firewall software, OneCare will provide anti-spyware functionality through Windows Defender [a/k/a Microsoft AntiSpyware codename "Atlanta"]. Microsoft purchased the company GIANT in December 14, 2004 and has announced that the consumer version of Windows Defender will be free to customers with a licensed copy of Microsoft Windows.
Other features include:
- Protection Plus includes anti-virus and firewall protection and automatic updates, as well as anti-spyware functionality powered by Windows Defender, to help protect the PC and the customer.
- Performance Plus delivers regular PC tune-ups to help maintain computer performance and reliability.
- Backup and Restore delivers easy-to-use backup and restore functionality for the full PC.
- Help and Support provides effective help when needed through a variety of modes – e-mail, phone and chat – with all service support coming from PC care experts at Microsoft for no additional charge.
For users who want to try out the beta or position themselves to take advantage of the $19.95 introductory rate, sign up for the beta at the Windows OneCare Live Ideas site.
Update: Still confused? Check out this comparison table of other Microsoft Security products. Also of note, is the fact the Microsoft isn't done buying up companies and continuing the development of security, with this recent press announcement.