Now this should set the cat amongst the pigeons. Microsoft is planning to release an all-in-one antivirus, antispyware, firewall and tune up tool for Windows PCs.
Called OneCare, the programme will begin internal testing this week, with a public beta scheduled over the summer. Key features of the product will be:
*Automatically updated antivirus, antispyware
*Two way firewall protection
*Automatic disk cleanup, hard drive defragmentation and file repair
*Synchronised data backup and recovery.
Like modern solutions, the programme will run in the background when not in use.
Perhaps the biggest surprise about OneCare is that it has taken so long to arrive. The demand for Microsoft's AntiSpyware software has been immense since it was made available earlier this year (despite similar free services being available from the likes of Spybot and Lavasoft) and the option of an integrated system-wide maintenance programme will surely appeal to many users.
Less enthusiastic will be Microsoft’s slew of antivirus partners: AhnLab, Aladdin, ALWIL, BullGuard, Cat, Computer Associates, Dialogue Scanner, Eset, F-Secure, Frisk, GFI, GriSoft, Hauri, Kaspersky, McAfee, MicroWorld, Norman, Panda, Proland, Sophos, Sybari, Symantec, Trend Micro, VirusBuster and Zero-Knowledge. All these guys can expect big hits when OneCare debuts.
Meanwhile, the company has announced that the final version of its Desktop Search tool (version 1.0) is now available for download and is integrated into the latest version of its MSN Toolbar. Rather shooting itself in the foot, however, is the news that it can only be used inside Internet Explorer. Looks like I’ll be sticking to the excellent Google version then.
Incidentally, if you are in the dark about Desktop Search tools, check out our news piece here.