Antivirus companies will be sweating today as Microsoft has now launched a public beta of its free 'Security Essentials' antivirus software...
Already dubbed 'MSE', the package protects against viruses, Trojans, rootkits and also spyware and will replace the rather basic Windows Defender which comes bundled with XP, Vista and 7.
Early feedback on MSE has been reasonably positive with its low impact on overall system performance being a notable plus point. Whether it will have enough penetration to succeed where OneCare failed and make a dent on established players like Symantec, McAfee, AVG, Kaspersky and Trend Micro however remains to be seen. Especially given Microsoft is unlikely to be able to utilise its key advantage: bundling MSE with flavours of Windows, for fear of further anticompetitive penalties.
As for availability, Microsoft has scrapped its initial plans to limit MSE to 75,000 downloads but frustratingly it will only be offered in the US, Israel, China and Brazil for now. European availability is expected during Q3, though downloads over torrents and Usenet will come a lot sooner.
With the likes of the innovative Panda Cloud antivirus also recently released could security software *whisper it* become exciting? Nah, probably not.