Microsoft Ditching OneCare for Freebie

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Microsoft has announced it plans to discontinue its little-loved OneCare PC protection offering effective June 30, 2009, replacing it with a new, free malware protection service codenamed "Morro." The company is promising Morro will have a lighter footprint, making it more workable in situations where folks have low-powered PCs or limited bandwidth, and Morro will be available free of charge.

"Customers around the world have told us that they need comprehensive, ongoing protection from new and existing threats, and we take that concern seriously," said Microsoft’s senior director of product management for the Online Services and Windows Division Amy Barzdukas, in a statement. "This new, no-cost offering will give us the ability to protect an even greater number of consumers, especially in markets where the growth of new PC purchases is outpaced only by the growth of malware."

Morro will be available as a stand-alone download for Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7, and will be designed to compliment security and privacy features in Windows and Internet Explorer. The application will be based on Microsoft’s own malware protection engine, and is designed to protect users against trojans, spyware, rootkits, and viruses to the same degree that Microsoft’s enterprise-level solutions protect systems. However, Morro will not offer non-security features found in many commercial PC protection products, like system tuning and backups.

Microsoft says it will continue to sell subscriptions to OneCare through June 30, 2009, and that Microsoft will honor ongoing OneCare subscriptions.