In case you didn't catch the news last week, Microsoft has announced that it will offer Windows users free antivirus software. Code-named Morro, it will be a new offering to be made available by the end of 2009.
This comes with Microsoft's decision to discontinue retail sales of its embattled Windows Live OneCare product at the end of next June. Microsoft explained the move in a blog post, noting that the decision to phase out Windows Live OneCare has to do with its focus on delivering Morro.
So what exactly will Morro offer? In Microsoft's own words, this new offering
will focus on getting the majority of consumers the essential protection they need by providing comprehensive, real-time anti-malware protection, covering such threats as viruses, spyware, rootkits, trojans and other emerging threats, in a single, focused solution.
What it means is that Morro will be a no-frills antivirus software that uses minimum system resources. Still, what caused Microsoft to adopt such a radical path, a move certain to generate unhappiness with existing antivirus vendors, with potential antitrust implications?
Personally, my feel is that Microsoft wants to dramatically improve the security of the Windows operating system. However, even though current antivirus solutions on the market work, just about all of them are bloated and result in Windows running slower after installing them. In addition, have you noticed that competition never did appear to do much on their pricing, either?
Whatever the case, changes in the antivirus market are afoot in the year 2009 due to the imminent release of Morro. The bottom line is clear to SMBs and, indeed, all corporations that are acquiring or renewing their antivirus licenses: Just go for one-year subscription or renewal of your antivirus products for now.