Microsoft has opened up the beta testing of its OneCare Live anti-virus subscription software to the public.
The company is also beta testing an anti-spyware product. With Windows XP already featuring a bundled personal firewall, Microsoft will soon be able to offer a full range of basic security products.
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The OneCare product has been in beta since spring and Microsoft has now extended the testing to anyone with a US English version of Windows XP with Service Pack 2.
Those using the service will get automatic anti-virus software updates direct from Microsoft, in the same way other users get them from the likes of Symantec, McAfee and Trend Micro.
OneCare will become a commercial product next year, and beta users will be among the first to be offered the service when it launches. Pricing for the product has so far not been finalised.
An enterprise version of OneCare is also in the offing from Microsoft. By the end of the year, Microsoft plans to release an initial test version of its new Microsoft Client Protection product, to protect business desktops, laptops and servers.