Back in May Microsoft announced its plans to terrorise the antivirus, firewall, system tune up and restore market with its OneCare system. Partners scratched their furrowed brows, the likes of McAfee and Symantec got nervous and now, two months later, OneCare is in beta testing.
Rechristened “OneCare Live”, the programme is currently being distributed to a select group of users who registered their interest in the initial trial process, with wider availability ramped up slowly. The system is similar to the one the company has used successfully to roll out its hugely popular AntiSpyware software.
As for the product itself, Microsoft says the first incarnation is stripped of its antivirus functionally, with the next build introducing it “soon”. How does it look? Well – without an extensive hands on – it is impossible to say, but OneCare Live’s official website does make for promising reading and the simple red, yellow (it looks more orange to me) and green status icon system (below) is a nifty idea.
Of course, every time Microsoft debuts a new piece of software users get sceptical (and I have to say with fair reason), but I have found its AntiSpyware offering to be surprisingly effective and with mainstream rivals McAfee and Symantec consistently producing decent if cumbersome and resource intense software, the door could well be ajar for Evil Lord Redmond.
Like AntiSpyware, Microsoft has yet to decide if it will charge for OneCare Live. Personally, I think a crafty policy of free installation coupled with an annually paid update subscription service is most likely, but I’ll tell you one thing: if ELR decides to bundle both products into Longhorn (now officially Windows Vista), the concept of a core-integrated, single manufacturer solution will appeal to many.
Whether it is going to “appeal” to Microsoft's long time 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 is somewhat more doubtful… (*cough*)