Microsoft Announces Plans for No-Cost Consumer Security Offering

REDMOND, Wash. — Nov. 18, 2008 — 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, Microsoft Corp. plans to offer a new consumer security offering focused on core anti-malware protection.

Code-named “Morro,” this streamlined solution will be available in the second half of 2009 and will provide comprehensive protection from malware including viruses, spyware, rootkits and trojans. This new solution, to be offered at no charge to consumers, will be architected for a smaller footprint that will use fewer computing resources, making it ideal for low-bandwidth scenarios or less powerful PCs. As part of Microsoft’s move to focus on this simplified offering, the company also announced today that it will discontinue retail sales of its Windows Live OneCare subscription service effective June 30, 2009.

“Customers around the world have told us that they need comprehensive, ongoing protection from new and existing threats, and we take that concern seriously,” said Amy Barzdukas, senior director of product management for the Online Services and Windows Division at Microsoft. “This new, no-cost offering will give us the ability to protect an even greater number of consumers, especially in markets where the growth of new PC purchases is outpaced only by the growth of malware.”

Built on Microsoft’s award-winning malware protection engine, “Morro” will take advantage of the same core anti-malware technology that fuels the company’s current line of security products, which have received the VB100 award from Virus Bulletin, Checkmark Certification from West Coast Labs and certification from the International Computer Security Association Labs. The new solution will deliver the same core protection against malware as that offered through Microsoft’s enterprise solutions, but will not include many of the additional non-security features found in many consumer security suites.

Windows Live OneCare, one of the first all-in-one suites to be launched in the consumer market, includes a number of non-security features, such as printer sharing and automated PC tune-up. By shifting to focus on the core anti-malware features that most consumers still don’t keep up to date, “Morro” will be able to provide the essential protections that consumers need without overusing system resources, and will help more consumers have better protection against online threats.

“Because uptake of standard anti-malware is low around the world, particularly in developing nations, the availability of basic protection for anyone who wants it is all the more important,” said Roger Kay, founder and president of Endpoint Technologies Associates. “By offering such basic protection at no charge to the consumer, Microsoft is promoting a safer environment for PCs, service providers and e-commerce itself, since it is through unprotected PCs that the worst threats are introduced to the system as a whole.”

“Morro” will be available as a stand-alone download and offer malware protection for the Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 operating systems. When used in conjunction with the ongoing security and privacy enhancements of Windows and Internet Explorer, this new solution will offer consumers a robust, no-cost security solution to help protect against the majority of online threats.

Windows Live OneCare will continue to be sold for Windows XP and Windows Vista at retail through June 30, 2009. Direct sales of OneCare will be gradually phased out when “Morro” becomes available. Regardless of their method of purchase, Microsoft will ensure that all current customers remain protected through the life of their subscriptions.

More information is available on the Windows Live OneCare Team Blog at http://windowsonecare.spaces.live.com.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

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