Microsoft to take Onecare security suite international

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Microsoft to take Onecare security suite international

Vista launch likely to increase Microsoft's market share.

Microsoft is preparing to launch its Windows Live OneCare consumer security service in 16 new countries including the UK on 30 January. The launch will coincide with the official unveiling of Windows Vista.

The software developer is preparing to ship an updated version of the service that will introduce unified virus and spyware scanning as well as more flexible back-up options.

Microsoft first launched OneCare last May. The suite offers antivirus, system optimisation and backup software. It has been available in the US as a subscription service at an annual rate of US$49.95.

The suite will retail at $99.95 for up to 3 PCs, or $39.95 for Australian beta customers until 12 February.

It will retail for £39.99 in the UK and €49.95 in Europe, similar to competing products. The prices respectively amount to a 60 and 30 percent markup over the charges for US consumers.

Microsoft's OneCare suite has been generally well received. The software has a limited impact on system performance and offers good protection against emerging threats.

Last year's launch increased competitive pressures on security incumbents such as McAfee, Symantec and Trend Micro. Erig Ogren, a security analyst with the Enterprise Strategy Group expects that the Vista roll-out will further allow Microsoft to gain market share in the consumer security space.

Anti virus software designed for Windows XP doesn't work on systems running Windows Vista. As users upgrading to the new operating systems therefore are required to purchase new security software, they are more likely to switch to a competitor's product. Microsoft's brand name recognition is likely to help out there.

"Consumers will follow the path of least resistance," Ogren told vnunet.com.

Security software vendor furthermore increasingly compete on the ease of use of their software and less on the speed at which they deliver updates to their services. Microsoft has done particularly well in those areas.
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