Microsoft copied us: AVG

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Microsoft copied us: AVG

Free anti-virus provider AVG Technologies claims that Microsoft is ‘clearly’ following its lead in the security market but that it will face many challenges pursuing a free model, including a severe reseller backlash.

Microsoft announced last week that it would discontinue its OneCare offering and replace it with a free offering from next year, code named Morro.

AVG, which claims to have over 85 million users in 167 countries, said that chief among the challenges Microsoft faces in supporting a free anti-virus software product are the ‘enormous’ overhead costs it will incur for customer service and support issues, as well as for ongoing product management and upgrades.

The Redmond giant will also likely have to contend with a ‘severe’ backlash from dissatisfied channel partners, whose margins and unit sales will be negatively impacted as a result of the free product offering, according to AVG’s chief executive J.R. Smith.

“Microsoft is clearly following our lead,” said Smith.

“The real threat in this scenario is to Microsoft’s own profitability and channel partner relations.”

AVG also highlighted the challenges facing Microsoft to keep pace with the growing proliferation of online threats.

The free Microsoft anti-virus software will have even less protective features than its current OneCare offering – further heightening computer users’ vulnerability to fast-spreading viruses and other threats, Smith claimed.

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