Okay, I’ve read all the news stories about how Microsoft is backing out of the retail Anti-Virus market by sending Windows Live OneCare packing and putting the free malware program Morro in its place. I don’t believe it’s really all that simple. How many times does Microsoft drop a product just a few years into its introduction? Almost never. On the contrairy. Microsoft is famous for its tenatious approach to slogging it out for 2, 3 or 4 versions of a product until they get it right. So why suddenly drop OneCare?
I’ve heard every reason from it takes away shelf space to Microsoft’s not making money with OneCare. Frankly, I use OneCare and I like OneCare a lot as AV products go. Microsoft could get rid of the data backup and the scheduled disk defrag components of OneCare and I’d be happier. Oh... wait, isn’t that what Morro is? OneCare without back up and defrag? But Microsoft’s calling Morro (OneCare’s AV engine) anit-malware software, not AV. Maybe, just maybe there’s more behind Morro than just some free malware software. Maybe labeling Morro as anti-malware makes it more of a Trojan horse. Well see.
So lets look at one other fact, almost axiom at this point. Microsoft is moving everything to the cloud. And fast. They couldn’t get there fast enough, so Microsoft can own the cloud and keep Google from changing the game from under them. Morro sounds to me like a great market disruption approach. Strip down a product like OneCare to its base anti-virus software, make it easily downloadable, installed via Windows update, or bundled with Windows 7, ... oh, and make it free... and you’ve suddenly pulled the table cloth off the table for other retail AV providers. Isn't that the same strategy Google's taken against to unseat Microsoft Office with Google Docs? Ahhh.....I see plans within plans. Hmmmm.
Now go one step further. Offer value added services beyond the free Morro software, and deliver them through the cloud. Manage your security on your home or small business desktop, laptop and mobile devices. Sounds like central AV management. Sound like the early steps of Microsoft Forefront in the cloud, at least a retail approach to offering Forefront-like capabilities.
Count Microsoft out of AV market if you want, but I wouldn’t. Think AV and you're thinking too small. Think cloud-based security. I’d say there’s another shoe or two yet to drop out of the cloud on this one.
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