Microsoft has said it will formally launch its Windows OneCare Live PC maintenance service in June. The product, which has been available as a free beta since November, is expected to cost around £30.
This annual subscription will cover up to three Windows XP PCs, and the service is designed to simplify PC maintenance for consumers by combining anti-virus, anti-spyware, PC tuning and back-up capabilities through one interface.
Such an integrated service is predicted to replace standalone anti-virus and back-up products that are used widely. According to research firms, combined services like OneCare have a good chance of succeeding in the £8.5bn per year consumer security market, which is notorious for users failing to update their software, leaving it unprotected and at risk from hackers.
Other security suppliers such as Symantec are expected to launch competitors to OneCare. The Symantec offering, said to be codenamed Genesis, is due in September, and will also provide anti-virus, anti-spyware, system tuning and back-up and recovery services.
It is perhaps no surprise to find existing security companies such as Symantec following the PC maintenance service route. Funny how it takes Microsoft to break the trail before everyone else piles in, fearful of missing a trick. Without Vista on the horizon, would the other security suppliers have taken a lead, and created Genesis-like offerings? I doubt it.