Monthly Archives: November 2008

Microsoft to offer Free “Morro” Anti-Virus/Malware/Spyware Solution and Discontinue Windows Live OneCare

Still busy looking for free anti-virus, anti-malware or anti-spyware security protection product? Most Windows users will not have such a worry by the second half of 2009, as Microsoft has announced plans to offer a no-cost consumer security offering to “address the growing need for a PC security solution tailored to the demands of emerging markets, smaller PC form factors and rapid increases in the incidence of malware”.

The new security offering, code-named “Morro” will feature a streamlined solution with a smaller footprint that focuses on core anti-malware protection and will provide comprehensive protection from malware including viruses, spyware, rootkits and trojans, according to Microsoft press release. The security product won’t provide additional non-security features or advanced functions that comes with commercial consumer security suites from other third-party vendors with the possible exception of a firewall.

“Morro” will be built from the existing anti-malware technology that fuels the company’s current line of security products, Windows Live OneCare. As such, Microsoft also announced that it will discontinue Windows Live OneCare on June 30, 2009, although paid subscription users can continue to receive up-to-date virus signatures throughout the whole subscription period, as explained in Windows Live OneCare blog. The freeware “Morro” will be available as a stand-alone free download and support Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 operating systems.

Microsoft: Morro Won’t Compete With Symantec, McAfee?
Microsoft says it will not compete with security companies like Symantec (NSDQ:SYMC) or McAfee, despite its announced plans to discontinue sales of its subscription-based security service and instead offer free security software for users to download. Microsoft’s free download, which the company is calling “Morro,” is designed to defend consumers’ PCs against malware, such as viruses, spyware and Trojans.

Following Microsoft’s announcement, Symantec and McAfee stocks took a nosedive over concerns that the software giant would take a significant portion of their market share in the PC security space. Symantec shares fell 9.44 percent to $11.23, while McAfee’s dropped 6.62 percent to $26.68. However, Microsoft also fell 6 percent at $18.45. The stock market is still a mess so I don’t put much stock in these numbers. Let’s look at them again as we near the June 30th, 2009 time table.

Some security companies maintain that Microsoft’s announcement is a sign of capitulation and an attempt to edge into a market dominated by established security vendors. McAfee said that OneCare, Microsoft’s consumer online security solution, captured less than 2 percent of the market since it was released two years ago, according to Reuters. Microsoft, however, contends that it is not undermining either Symantec’s nor McAfee’s marketshare due to the fact that its new free download only provides protection against malware — a term referring mainly to online threats such as Trojans, spyware and other forms of malicious code.

Meanwhile, Symantec, McAfee and other large security companies offer comprehensive suites and high-end point products that include an array of security features such as encryption, data loss prevention, firewalls and parental controls.

Although the free Morro download will be available to anyone, McAfee said that Microsoft will be going after emerging markets, such as Brazil and other countries that require increased IT security infrastructure but whose residents often lack financial resources to buy and install security software.

“This product is really focused on the 50 to 60 percent (of PC users) who don’t have, or won’t pay for, antivirus protection, antimalware protection,” said Amy Barzdukas, senior director of product management for Microsoft’s Online Services and Windows Division.

Here’s what C-NEt has to say about Morro:
http://news.cnet.com/8301-10805_3-10102707-75.html

Microsoft Launches First U.S. Store

Amid the souring economy, last Thursday, Microsoft opened its first online store in the U.S., selling all of its products at a one-stop-shop.  Customers will be able to buy and download products via Electronic Software Distribution (ESD) and can also get direct shipments.

With the launch, U.S. customers can buy first-party software and hardware directly from the company via an online catalog. Products include software, devices and hardware, such as Office 2007, Vista, Visual 2008, Windows Server 2008, Xbox 360 consoles and accessories and the new Zune.

In a Microsoft blog, Trevin Chow, senior program manager, said customers will be able to pay for ESD product the same as they would for ones that would be physically shipped. Chow said that the difference is that after payments are confirmed, customers can immediately download products and install them right away. There’s no longer any need to pay shipping costs and waiting for a delivery to your home or office.

In an effort to alleviate concerns that customers may have about not having the software on physical media to reinstall the product at a later time. The store will let users re-download products until mainstream support for the product ends, which is typically five years after the product is released. Customers will always have the option of copying downloaded products to physical media on their own if they want to have it available longer than the mainstream support lifetime.

One major advantage of buying via ESD from the Microsoft Store is that it gives customers the advantage of having perpetual storage of their product keys. Product keys are stored in a Microsoft Store Account alongside a purchase history so they can be recalled and used to re-install software at any time.

The store can be considered a green initiative and better for the environment. Microsoft wants us to think about all the savings of gasoline in shipping products, driving back and forth in your car to a retail store, or even the plastic manufactured and used for the CD jewel cases.

This isn’t a first for Microsoft as stores are already available in the U.K., Germany and Korea. Launches in Japan, France, Spain and the Netherlands are expected in the near future, and more countries will be added throughout the year.

Many VAR’s and software retailers are concerned that Microsoft’s foray into retail sales will negatively affect their business. In a recent interview, Allison Watson, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Group, made no mention of the Microsoft Store and said that there were plenty of opportunities for VARs to grow, as long as they stay focused on projects that improve energy efficiency, boost productivity and drive down costs. “We are committed to working with our partners to help customers realize maximum value and efficiencies from their IT investments in this tough economic climate,” she said. I think the committment is to Microsoft’s bottom line and let the partners chips fall where they may.

Only time will tell.

You can visit their new store @ http://store.microsoft.com/home.aspx

You Tube Plus MGM – What's up with that?

 

YouTube began building its full-length streaming movie stronghold today, announcing a partnership between the Google-owned company and MGM Studios.

Late last week rumors flew about when and which movie studios would start offering content on the video Website. MGM Studios was the first on board with ten-year-old episodes of “American Gladiators” and a baby-sized handful of films, including “Legally Blonde” and “Bulletproof Monk.”

Though the announcement is exciting in that more studios are likely to come fast on MGM’s heels, the initial offerings are less than enticing; in fact, they’re depressing.

The big unaddressed issue? Quality of the videos. YouTube’s main competitor for streaming movies, Hulu, has a history of posting quality content via exclusive partnerships. While YouTube may grab some hot tickets as time goes on, the implementation will be little more than worthless if the streaming quality on YouTube does not increase exponentially. (Maybe MGM is trying ensure we keep buying DVDs).

MGM co-president Jim Packer seems to agree. Packer told the New York Times that MGM is starting out slowly with YouTube, but doesn’t feel it is the platform to have a vast catalog. “I feel much more comfortable doing that on a site like Hulu,” Packer said.

It’s not a good sign when MGM itself doesn’t sound psyched. If you haven’t checked out Hulu.com you’re missing the boat on Internet Video. Give it a shot and let me know what you think.
http://www.hulu.com

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