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Microsoft Anti-Virus Pricing Ripples?

Microsoft Corp. announced yesterday that beginning in June it would start charging $49.95 a year for Windows Onecare Live, a (currently free) managed-security service designed to protect Windows PCs from viruses, spyware and other Internet attacks.

Leaving aside the question of whether consumers will move in droves to pay Microsoft to fix problems that it is at least partly responsible for, the real question seems to be whether the other anti-virus vendors will lower prices and/or change their licensing terms to allow their products to be used on more than one machine.

That's because Microsoft has said it will allow customers to install the software on up to three different Windows machines, a practice virtually unheard of at that price point in the consumer PC security market.

Microsoft's subscription rate comes in at the lower end of the pricing scale set by the other major vendors offering bundles of anti-spyware, anti-virus and firewall protection software, but none of the major players in the consumer market -- including Symantec, McAfee or Trend Micro -- currently allows customers to install a subscription on more than one PC for that price.

Trend is the only vendor that even comes close, marketing a 3-license copy of its PC-cillin suite for $89.99. Both Symantec and McAfee charge $119.99 for a three-license purchase of their Internet security suites.

Windows Onecare Live director Dennis Bonsall said Microsoft's pricing strategy came out of feedback from home and small-business users who he said repeatedly cited "the hassle factor" of having to deal with multiple anti-virus subscriptions across multiple PCs as a reason for simply not installing any protection at all. 

"We found that problem seemed to interfere with a lot of people's willingness to protect that second or third PC that was maybe just for use by the spouse or the kids," Bonsall said. "So we saw a strong demand for protecting the whole household, and we went with that feedback."

In an era when many households now have multiple Windows PCs and handheld devices spread across a mesh of wired and wireless networks, it is only natural that the anti-virus industry should shift away from the one-license-per-machine model. The company that probably has the most to lose from Microsoft's offering -- Symantec -- is expected this fall to roll out its own managed-security offering dubbed Genesis, a subscription-based service that bundles many of the features found in OneCare Live, including anti-spyware, anti-virus, PC performance tweaking tools and data backup utilities. Symantec's offering also will include anti-phishing and identity-theft prevention tools that the company gleaned through its 2005 purchase of WholeSecurity.

"While we're not announcing the specific number of licenses that will be included with it, Genesis will be a service that covers the needs of the entire household," said Tom Powledge, Symantec's director of product management.

Whether the other vendors follow suit will largely depend on how well Microsoft's new offering is received. Redmond is trying to expand its current user base of roughly 200,000 OneCare users by allowing Windows users who download and install the OneCare beta version before the end of April to purchase the service for just $19.95 per year starting in June.

Lane Bess, TrendMicro's North American president, said his company has no immediate plans to change the terms or price of its home and small office software licenses, but he would not rule out doing so if Microsoft's product catches on.

"We'll watch to see how the market reacts," Bess said. "But at the end of the day, there's a perception that a lot of the problems and holes in the Microsoft platform are a result of Microsoft's inability to understand how these things work."

By Brian Krebs  |  February 8, 2006; 12:17 PM ET
Categories:  From the Bunker  
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Comments

"Microsoft ... announced ... that beginning in June it would start charging $49.95 a year for Windows Onecare Live, a ... service designed to protect Windows PCs from viruses, spyware and other Internet attacks."

... that, as everyone knows, occur because of the inherent insecurities of Microsoft's security model.

I'm sorry but there is only one accurate term for this: a protection racket. Pay us, or our software will get screwed up.

How long will people continue to put up with this joke company and its joke OS?

Posted by: Mike | February 8, 2006 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Mike-

Did you cheer when the DoJ went after Microsoft for bundling a browser? Microsoft is going to charge for AV only because not doing so would be a huge violation of the spirit (if not the text) of the consent decree Netscape was able to wring out of them.

I too think this should be a free service, but what you are seeing is the effect of Microsoft's lawyers making business decisions instead of engineers.

Posted by: Al | February 8, 2006 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Your pricing models don't really show the true of the AntiVirus costs. Symantec, for instance charges a one-time fee for their software. Beyond that, users can renew their subscription.

Furthermore, Symantec and other companies frequently discount the cost of their software to $0 with a one-year subscription included.

Furthermore, it seems that Microsoft is making money from the insecurity of their software - from Windows to Internet Explorer. I would like Microsoft to concentrate on building tighter code for their OS and IE before venturing into another money making project.

Posted by: Stan Brager | February 8, 2006 1:11 PM | Report abuse

if my all of my software was fully compatible with linux, i would definately use that instead. I am also very lucky to have got an OEM copy of windows bundled with my machine, if i hadn't, then i most certainly wouldn't use windows.

Microsoft is just a rip off.

Posted by: Will | February 8, 2006 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Microsoft are just stupid there are solutions out there that are much better than most paid stuff and I dont think it is a good idea for microsoft to go into antivirus business when its their product that is being attacked it also gives the imitation that even Vista wont be all fool proof and people will still need to pay for spyware and virius solutions.

Posted by: AMCDeathKnight | February 8, 2006 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Microsoft has a winning strategy on this one. Now, they no longer have to worry about exploitable code in Windows and IE. In fact, the more the better, because now they can sell their protection software to cover the holes. They can spend less money developing windows, ie, an others, but still charge full price for them.
More holes = more problems to cover = more sells of protection software = more money for less work.

Posted by: Josh | February 8, 2006 1:33 PM | Report abuse


When MS gets paid for protecting people from Microsoft's own mistakes how motivated are they going to be to fix them? That's great, getting people to pay for their bug fixes. It goes along with their pattern too, of giving it free, then charging for it, once people are switched over to it. These are the guys that wanted to lease their software for a monthly fee. Money, money, money. I wish linux had a good desktop and that I could move my programs there.

Posted by: Fred | February 8, 2006 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Another reason to dump Windoze and move to Linux. Currently use PCLinuxOS with Wine for my legacy programs and have spent NO time since with the daily security issues I used to have to worry about with M$

Posted by: Cliff | February 8, 2006 1:36 PM | Report abuse

I do not feel guilty for using illegal copies of Microsofts OS's. Why pay so much for junk?

Posted by: Pirate | February 8, 2006 1:38 PM | Report abuse

People need to stop repeating the same FUD over and over.

Can you name a single self-installing worm on Windows that exploited an unpatched vulnerability in 2005? There were none.

What is the most prevelent threat to Windows (and indeed, all OSs)? User executed malicious code. This doesn't require any hole in the OS to work, and even if you run with least privilege it can still wipe out the stuff you care about most.

So what's left to stop this user executed malicious code? Tell users to stop clicking on attachements that say "click me to see hot naked chicks"? I don't think so.

The only way to stop these threats is with an antivirus program, which is at the heart of Microsoft's offering here. They are not charging for security patches that fix vulnerabilities. They are charging for AV, which is a necessary mainly to protect people from themselves.

Oh, and when you guys figure out how to write a operating system that is used by hundreds of millions in many languages around the world, works with thousands of pieces of hardware and supports myriads of applications that doesn't have a single security bug, let us know.

Posted by: Matt | February 8, 2006 1:45 PM | Report abuse

I have no confidence to use, and I don't see the reason to pay for this subscriptions at all since it takes a long delay for Microsoft to delivery a fix for one of many security holes for its operating system.

Having this idea is not bad. If not the coming service pack release, Microsoft should ship this as an optional package/feature for the next version of Microsoft Windows for free (at least users will have a choice for third-party tools instead of this).

Posted by: Jeff | February 8, 2006 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Microsoft has alot to apologize for. The tens of billions of dollars on MS' balance sheet, are profits made by shoddy security, sub-standard programming, and forcing paying customers to be beta-testers. MS' cost-cutting gave them profits and gave the rest of us, problems. It's time for MS to start returning some of that cash to its clients.

What MS should really do, in the name of security:

1. OneCare should be free. Users should not have to pay MS twice, once for a vulnerable OS and again for security that should have been built into the OS in the first place.

2. Make IE 6 SP2 and, when ready, IE 7, available to all versions of Windows. It is an insult to expect Win 2000 users to continue using IE 6 SP1 for four more years (MS is supporting Win 2000 until June 2010).

3. Extend support for Win 98SE and ME. Face the facts: a substantial chunk of the user base continues to use Win 98 and ME. Simply ignoring these users after 6/30/06 does not mean they will all convert to XP or Vista en masse. If you don't offer critical updates for 98 and ME, you give malicious code writers an attractive target. Since Win 2000 users are getting 10+ years of support, MS should be offering the same to 98 and ME users.

4. Roll out XP SP3 before Vista. Putting the service pack release on hold does nothing for security and makes MS look like Larry Ellison, determined to push Vista on a reluctant public. The free XP SP3 CD should include SP1 and SP2 as well.

Posted by: Ken L | February 8, 2006 1:48 PM | Report abuse

You guys are fantastic.

"Give it away for free".

Yeah right. How long before they get sued by the DoJ for destroying Symantec and other AV vendors businesses?

"It's their fault"

They don't write the viruses. Bugs exist in ALL software. If all of the virus writers were targeting linux then you'd see just as many infections as Windows currently has. Fact is, 95% of users run Windows on the desktop. And until this changes, the virus writers will continue to target the platform.

To say that Linux is more secure because it isn't being targeting is just foolish. Go ahead, let's all switch..you think the virus writers will just go away? lol.

Posted by: Silly People | February 8, 2006 1:57 PM | Report abuse

It's like paying the proverbial fox to be in charge of security at the hen house!

Posted by: Jonathan | February 8, 2006 2:05 PM | Report abuse

The general consensus seems to be that MS is to blame for "vulnerabilities". I beg to disagree. I'm an engineer who designs products. There is no way I can design against people deliberately attacking a product with the intent to destroy. Ford and GM make cars. If someone shoots a bullet through the window (sic) and hits the driver, are they to blame? Firewalls and other anti-security products are like bullet proof windows - needed if the PC is exposed to the web, e-mail and outside attacks. If people wanted to buy, and could afford, tanks - well they'd be a lot more secure on the road. I suppose using this model, MS is just saying that if the user wants to upgrade to a tank through some combination of the software and services - then they can pay the money. I see nothing wrong with this approach. I don't blame MS for releasing "vulnerable" software since everything is vulnerable to some degree or another.

Posted by: Cyberman1 | February 8, 2006 2:05 PM | Report abuse

I fix stupid peoples mistakes every day, its not the operating system, its the stupid illiterate people that just CLICK, CLICK, CLICK, CLICK, CLICK, CLICK,CLICK, CLICK,CLICK, CLICK,CLICK, CLICK,CLICK, CLICK,CLICK, CLICK,CLICK, CLICK,CLICK, CLICK,CLICK, CLICK,CLICK, CLICK,CLICK, CLICK,CLICK, CLICK,CLICK, CLICK,CLICK, CLICK,CLICK, CLICK,
OH SH!T,

Posted by: James Murphy | February 8, 2006 2:13 PM | Report abuse

I've been using Xandros Linux (xandros.com) for my small engineering business for over three years. I migrated my wife's notebook PC at the same time. I expected to learn a lot of command line stuff to make it work, but amazingly, it seemed like WinXP without the viruses, Outlook worms, crashes, registry rot, etc. My wife and I have been very pleased with Xandros Linux.

I'm not saying Xandros is perfect. It's not. But it's a LOT better than Windows. The learning curve was tiny. After a month, I was more productive than I was in Windows, and it's much easier to use now. I'm NEVER going back to Windows.

I can't imagine why people tolerate Windows, with the Exploit Of The Week (TM), service patches that are late and then cause as many problems as they fix, and of course the "pay as you go" software leasing model enforced through mandatory MS Office upgrades.

Want to stop worrying about malware and spyware? Get a good desktop Linux. You will spend no time trying to keep virus databases updated, and you'll spend no money on performance-robbing antivirus software.

If all you do is email, web browsing, word processing, spreadsheets, ripping and encoding digital audio, etc., then you have a 20 minute installation and you're almost instantly productive. If you need CAD, small business accounting, etc., you should budget a day or two to figure that stuff out. CrossOver will run most of the big Windows applications, until native Linux versions are available. There is a lot of very motivated help on the user forums, which is a lot better than trying to get help with a Windows problem. And the availability of free and open source software was a very pleasant surprise. Applications like FireFox are better than the commercial applications, and installation and removal is incredibly easy compared to the copy protection schemes and End User Licensing Agreements of proprietary software.

Xandros Linux (and others) work very well on Windows networks, and the proprietary file formats you've been using import well into open source applications such as OpenOffice. For most people, there is simply no good reason to keep suffering with Windows.

Posted by: Bruce Layne | February 8, 2006 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Currently free? Well, sure it's Beta.

Posted by: Shawn Cicoria | February 8, 2006 2:15 PM | Report abuse

To the guy who said thatr Linux is just as vulnerable but that fewer people use it. That is Utter BS. Linux does have vulberabilities, and if it controlled a much larger share of the market you would see more attempts at viruses and malware for it, but the overall amount compared to Windows would still be comparatively less. Windows has inherent flaws in its security model and way of doing things that Linux does not have. That is why Windows suffers under the glut of malware that it does. And I don't use Linux. I hate Linux matter of fact due to the GPL. That is the biggest virus of them all.

Posted by: Linux us safer | February 8, 2006 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Microsoft is not to be faulted for their OS being attacked....it is the most popular platform thus most likely to be attacked.

This does not excuse Microsoft's announcement that they intend to charge for protecting their OS.

Microsofts announcement is just another revenue generating stream for the company.

This new plan actually encourages Microsoft to produce software full of holes and subject to attacks while rewarding them for their efforts.

Microsoft can now spend less to develop a secure product while collecting on the other end for plugging holes.

What stops Microsoft from releasing software with design flaws intentionally so as to build their bottom line by having subscribers rush to purchase protection?

Posted by: ricroe | February 8, 2006 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Microsoft's arrogance is astounding. Why can't they fix the software that causes these threats?

Time for everyone to switch to Mac - strong security means not one virus, not one. It will transform your life and save you money too.

Posted by: JonT | February 8, 2006 2:26 PM | Report abuse

From a security standpoint, M$'s OS and browser software is crap ...and it has always been thus.

So instead of fixing the security deficiencies -they are now going to charge their customers to have 'secure' Windoz systems?!? HFMOG!

What's more astounding is that all the lemmings are going to buy into it! (literally!)

If it weren't for all the IT departments stuffed with M$ certified drones justifying their existance swatting malware, all that M$-certified 'swiss cheeseware' would have been dumped for better alternatives year ago.

Posted by: Ralph | February 8, 2006 2:26 PM | Report abuse

"GM makes cars. If someone shoots a bullet through the window and hits the driver, are they to blame?"

If the Army ordered tanks and GM delivered convertible tanks with 18 gauge sheet metal bodies, the Army would be right to be mad. Windows security is almost nonexistent. They're trying to layer on some security now, but it's difficult to add as an afterthought.

As for the old argument that virus writers target Windows because it's the dominant OS, there is some truth to that, although Windows is about 90% of the desktop market, not 95% as previously claimed. Mac and Linux each have about 5%.

However, there are hundreds of thousands of pieces of malware for Windows and essentially no Mac or Linux malware, not because they each only represent 5% of the PC market, but rather because both operating systems have sensible and effective security. It's very difficult to write a virus or worm that will propagate under Linux or the Mac. Users are not typically running with administrator privileges, along with several other common sense security features.

Ironically, Microsoft claimed that Windows was so open to allow the end user a lot of freedom, but I've never felt constrained by Linux (who needs to write a spreadsheet macro that sends mass email?), yet Microsoft has had to glom on so many patches for serious exploits that Windows and the Microsoft applictions are now much less user friendly while still being less secure.

Added bonus: 80% of the spam in the US is sent from zombie Windows spambots. Once people stop using insecure Windows, we'll all receive a lot less spam.

Posted by: Bruce Layne | February 8, 2006 2:31 PM | Report abuse

I agree that linux is great, for a few things, like surfin, mailin, even a document. sounds like a secretary's job.
I even use embedded linux on all my security DVRs, It would even make a great file server or (not and) appliance controller. but when i need to do ANYTHING or EVERYTHING on a pc, I use Windows cause I can download (free) music and play battlefield 2 and work with photoshop and program websites and rip music & dvd's and chat with ALL my friends and send my spreadsheets to customers who CAN open them and serve a website and I can do it ALL on ONE machine.

P.S. how many flavors of linux are there where software for one wont work on another. all XP software works on all XP machines

Posted by: James Murphey | February 8, 2006 2:32 PM | Report abuse

"I use Windows cause I can download (free) music and play battlefield 2 and work with photoshop and program websites and rip music & dvd's and chat with ALL my friends and send my spreadsheets to customers who CAN open them and serve a website and I can do it ALL on ONE machine."

Linux does all that and more, without viruses, without spyware, without mandatory MS Office upgrades, without Digital Restrictions Management, and without supporting a company repeatedly convicted for anti-trust violations.

The only thing Linux doesn't do better than Windows is play video games. I suggest you get a PlayStation.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 8, 2006 2:38 PM | Report abuse

This seems a little like going to a hooker getting STD,then buying the cure from her!But everybody goes right back after she's got an new outfit.

Posted by: ran | February 8, 2006 2:49 PM | Report abuse

MS should get sued for "dumping" because effectively that is what they are doing. An earlier poster made a close comment about forcing Netscape out by giving IE away. The lawyers smartened up a little, now they are going to try and price McAfee and Symantec out of the market.

50 bucks for 3 copies? How can they really afford to do that? I mean that is like 15 bucks a copy of for AV sw. Symantec charges 40 for Norton AV and then 20 per year there after.

Just file the lawsuit now.

Sean

Posted by: Sean | February 8, 2006 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Well, I've suspected this for a long time, but now it's official: Microsoft doesn't want to make their software less vulnerable to all kinds of nasty stuff--they want to profit from cleaning up the nasties! Way to go, Bill!

Posted by: Jon Whitmer | February 8, 2006 2:50 PM | Report abuse

There is a easier solution than paying $49.95 a year it's called; Avast.com (Anti-Virus), Zonealarm (firewall), and Spybot (spyware). Total Price for software and updates $0.00. Why add to Bill Gates and his 52 Billion Dollar net worth.

Posted by: Barry | February 8, 2006 2:50 PM | Report abuse

I have several systems at home of windows xp and mantain a IT department for a small software company that has a mix of Windows 2000,2003,xp

Guess what? No issues, why because people using them have half a brain, they don't click on pop ups, they don't open attachments they just use there systems sensibly, I have never had a problem with any of my home systems, my media center pc has been running without antivirus for years no with no issues.

get a firewall, run antivirus (keep it up to date) run spyware detectors and boom all problems go away.

For the person that said "Linux does not have vulnerabilities" you must be smokin crack my friend, linux security exploits come out faster then windows usually check it out yourself http://secunia.com/

Posted by: mcepat | February 8, 2006 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Instead of fighting for the right to include a browser on it's operating system or a media player on it's operating system, etc., they ought to charge for those things and give away things that break into their operating system because of weaknesses in their operating system. I'll never buy it. I'll buy from someone else before I pay them to protect me, when they should have started when I installed their operating system.

Posted by: Don Wood | February 8, 2006 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Instead of fighting for the right to include a browser on it's operating system or a media player on it's operating system, etc., they ought to charge for those things and give away things that prevent a break into their operating system because of weaknesses in their operating system. I'll never buy it. I'll buy from someone else before I pay them to protect me, when they should have started when I installed their operating system.

Posted by: Don Wood | February 8, 2006 3:00 PM | Report abuse

For many years, Microsoft's Window's security philosophy was features-first, security-last. They would knowingly leave gigantic security holes open for years, and then blame the user when they were exploited. When they belatedly patched Outlook to include attachment-file security features, I e-mailed Microsoft and asked them when the same features/patch would be added to Outlook Express e-mail. Their response was "never". (It took them a few years to change their mind.) In spite of words to the contrary, remnants of "securtiy-last" still persist in the Microsoft corporate culture. Microsoft has repeatedly proven, that in matters of security, they are not to be trused. I certainly won't be buying Onecare.

Posted by: John Johnson | February 8, 2006 3:02 PM | Report abuse

TREATING cancer is a multi-billion-dollar industry. Might that not lessen the incentive to CURE it?

Creating and marketing anti-virus, anti-spyware, anti-whatever software and how-to books, and providing support for a poorly designed operating system is a multi-billion-dollar industry. Might that not lessen the incentive to make it better?

Posted by: Wayne Burke | February 8, 2006 3:05 PM | Report abuse

I see the same debate MS v Linux rears it's ugly head once again.

Personally I use XP, MS's best OS to date IMO which has the uncanny ablility to run any kind of software you require.

When Linux can do the same I may consider that option but that's going to be an extremely long way off I would expect.

Posted by: Gazza | February 8, 2006 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Most of you people that are anti-microsoft are writing ur comments on a windows OS. Anyhow thats no the point whats wack is that all lot of u folks believe u guys are paying microsoft to fix their own bugs that is incorrect.

Microsoft will continue to provide the security fixes on Xp or Vista regardless if u purchase the one care live or not. One care live is mainly an anti-virus program. That being said new viruses are written all the time and the main purpose of the Windows One care Live is their to fight of these bugs and viruses that are created to attack the system.
Viruses can also be created on a bug free system. When you buy One care live ur buying a program that combats mainly viruses not fixes mistaks/errors.

So most of u people here dissin MS got ur ish twisted

Posted by: Bilal | February 8, 2006 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Be it human lives or PCs, security always comes with a price

Posted by: Ketan | February 8, 2006 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Everyone is so quick to jump on the "bash Microsoft" bandwagon. Any story with Microsoft in the headlines fuels the --nix and Mac militants into a fever of "my OS is better than yours." In this instance, Microsoft is simply creating an all-inclusive software package bundling antivirus, firewall, and spyware/malware prevention into one. As was mentioned earlier, it is not a way to charge for patch release or any form of support for Windows. It is merely to add a layer of protection for the bad guys in the world who write malicious code. Has anyone bothered to read other headlines of today: "Sun Microsystems issued a patch Tuesday to address seven "highly critical" flaws in its Java Runtime Environment that could allow a malicious attacker to gain remote control over a user's system." The major flaw opens up Windows AND Linux (as well as Solaris) to hackers. This is not a flaw inherent to Microsoft...sorry, you militant posters. A security package such as Microsoft's OneCare (Or Symantec or McAfee or whatever product you choose) is a line of defense against this. After all, I doubt many "non techie" users will visit Sun's sight to download a patched version of Java and close this door to hackers. So for all you fanatical Microsoft haters, find something else to gripe about.

Posted by: Marcus | February 8, 2006 3:25 PM | Report abuse

"The general consensus seems to be that MS is to blame for "vulnerabilities". I beg to disagree. I'm an engineer who designs products. There is no way I can design against people deliberately attacking a product with the intent to destroy. Ford and GM make cars."

This is complete bull! Hows this for an example. I go to Ford, buy a new car and drive for 2 hours. When I get to my destination, I turn my car off. The next day, I get back in my car and it starts lurching. Do I just accept that the car just works that way, or do I take it back? I too am a software engineer, and more importantly, I started in DOS/Windows, and once moving to UNIX environments, saw that an OS can be stable, can be secure, and can "just work".

Now, I'll probably get hammered for this comment, but I personally think Linux is next in line for this kind of crap, and IMO, its because of a lack of unified development. Linux is built by programmers all over the world, not really corraborating as a concerted group effort. I have read articles by Linus, and he states that he built the kernel as a "general purpose" OS, not as the end all of secure operating systems. This is probably very close to the decentralized programming that goes on at Microsoft.

As an avid BSD user for several years, I have come to be very fond of the groups that put out some of the best software in terms of performance, stability and security.

My personal favorite is OpenBSD, mainly because of the proactive intent on finding bugs *before* they are exploited.

Posted by: Jess | February 8, 2006 3:35 PM | Report abuse

"The general consensus seems to be that MS is to blame for "vulnerabilities". I beg to disagree. I'm an engineer who designs products. There is no way I can design against people deliberately attacking a product with the intent to destroy. Ford and GM make cars."

This is complete bull! Hows this for an example. I go to Ford, buy a new car and drive for 2 hours. When I get to my destination, I turn my car off. The next day, I get back in my car and it starts lurching. Do I just accept that the car just works that way, or do I take it back? I too am a software engineer, and more importantly, I started in DOS/Windows, and once moving to UNIX environments, saw that an OS can be stable, can be secure, and can "just work".

Now, I'll probably get hammered for this comment, but I personally think Linux is next in line for this kind of crap, and IMO, its because of a lack of unified development. Linux is built by programmers all over the world, not really corraborating as a concerted group effort. I have read articles by Linus, and he states that he built the kernel as a "general purpose" OS, not as the end all of secure operating systems. This is probably very close to the decentralized programming that goes on at Microsoft.

As an avid BSD user for several years, I have come to be very fond of the groups that put out some of the best software in terms of performance, stability and security.

My personal favorite is OpenBSD, mainly because of the proactive intent on finding bugs *before* they are exploited.

Posted by: Jess | February 8, 2006 3:36 PM | Report abuse

OK, folks, let's face it. Before Windows, we were running DOS, CP/M, and whatever else was available. True, MS has a bit to learn about customer relations - but get real, here. Windows is THE most used OS in the WORLD! And as long as there are idiots out there with nothing else to do but develope what I would call "hateware", (they develope theses viruses because they hate SOMEBODY, or something), there will be a need for virus protection software. I will agree that MS developing it's own virus software is a little cheesy given it's history of developing OS's, but, for the same money they could do nothing. Their heart is in the right place, just their logic is somewhat flawed.
Even if we all changed-over to Linux tomorrow, it would not change the fact that SOMEONE out there will try and destroy it, "just for fun" (however sick that might be).
We can all only hope that we can continue having virus protection companies who help us by deveoping effective software. When that stops, we are all in trouble!

Posted by: Jim | February 8, 2006 3:46 PM | Report abuse

We bought the operating system. It should work properly and not have security problems.

Posted by: sam | February 8, 2006 3:55 PM | Report abuse

What everyone is forgetting is the AV is only reactive. This is only a fix after the fact not before. Until someone creates a proactive fix for virii it will continue.


But to all the people who say "I never had a virus" good for you, but what about all the people who don't spend 1 or 2 hours a week fiddling around with their pc or running spy/maleware checking software. They don't want to work that hard on something they see as an appliance like their TV or washing machine. They expect it to just work. If you had to spend 1 or 2 hours a week or even a month to keep your TV, fridge, washing machine, or even your car running properly or how about all of the above, you would probably be bitching about the makers sticking it you you.


This is what is pissing people off.

Just my 2cents

Posted by: Anonymous | February 8, 2006 3:59 PM | Report abuse

That's the point, Just my 2cents. Most of these security products are self-updating, whether or not they're from MS. If you run XP, there's an Automatic Updating. Symantec AV can be configured to update itself. I imagine most 3rd party anti-spyware products do the same.

If you take some basic pre-cautions -- even with an MS OS -- you can be virus/spyware free year-after-year.

Posted by: ronnie | February 8, 2006 4:23 PM | Report abuse


Strategy: choke off Norton and Symantic. First rule: never compete. Ever! Lockin is critical.

Wait until a big virus occurs. Update virus screen fast and download it. Wow what a close call! Raise prices. The monopoly gets to set the price.

Save money and don't bother fixing security vulnerabilities, just update the virus screen as needed.

Posted by: phil | February 8, 2006 5:03 PM | Report abuse

AV just slows my PC Down anyway. I dont need another 25 services running in the background. Just get a router.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 8, 2006 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Having Microsoft selling security products is like having an arsonist selling fire insurance.

Leave it to the convicted monopolists to figure out a way to monetize criminal negligence.

Jose

Posted by: Jose Gerentov-Bosch | February 8, 2006 5:38 PM | Report abuse

First, do not blame Microsoft for the hateware some twisted individual or group writes to cause mayhem with our computers. Certainly there are holes in the OS but you build an OS to provide functionality and it is unrealistic to think in something this complex that someone intent on harm will not find a way.

Second, I think Microsoft has to charge something for this otherwise all you McNealy fans out there will scream bloody murder that MS trying to undermine the competition. Have you ever noticed that consumers never complain about free stuff only competitors? I have freeware, I buy software mostly the purchased is better than the free but not always.

Third, If you tout a truly secure OS that is impervious to viruses and spyware then you are touting something that is so insignificant either in terms of functionality or in terms of the number of users that a hateware designer could not be bothered. Improve your alternative to Windows or get more people to use this alternative OS and then fasten your seatbelts!

I apologize in advance to all the devotees of whatever out there that I have offended!

Posted by: Tired! | February 8, 2006 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Hey! At'sa nice computer you got there. Ya know, it would really be a shame if something bad should happen to it, ya know? You should get some "insurance" - just in case. Hey! Tell ya what! We gonna sell "insurance" soon. You should get our "insurance".

Cause after all, it really would be too bad if something bad were to happen to such a nice computer.

Posted by: Ben | February 8, 2006 5:55 PM | Report abuse

This whole thread is silly. One need look no further than DCOM to see that MS has unwittingly built some BIG holes in their O/S. If for some reason you are on Bill's payroll, you likely have your head so shoved into your neder-regions that you neglect to accept the reality of some really poor coding practices historicallly at old M$.
The Excel bloat example quickly comes to mind. For those not familiar, a series of "easter eggs" (hidden feature/function) were included in Excel97 causing nearly a 15% increase in the size of the binary with no overt tangible benefit to users (I think one of these eggs would graphically present the names of all the core developes involved on the project). While this example is innocuous, it demonstrates the lack of control (and likely) the the prevalence of spaghetti and cludge-code in much of the source code for the O/S. Note how much the MS kernel has bloated. Is this the mark of good coding and design? I think not.
While I agree the recent O/S release- XP- is improved, there are still NUMEROUS defects/bugs that avail users (especially less technically savy ones) to risks.

Posted by: Kid-Kr@cker | February 8, 2006 6:10 PM | Report abuse

M$ is only after one thing GREED, they care less about security protection?

Posted by: Al | February 8, 2006 6:10 PM | Report abuse

I guess being declared a monopoly is no longer a problem in the USA. The phone companies are merging again, so lets let thme have a monopoly too. This way the government can covertly spy on everyone and only need to know two systems.

Microsoft will continue to work the market as hard as they can. You all keep buying, they will keep selling. You don't like paying for virus protection, buy another OS. They are out there!!!!
But people like to suffer and Microsoft will continue to make bank and all you suckers.

Yes the newer MS OS is better than DOS but believe it or not you can choose to buy a computer that does not need virus protection software that costs 40/year or more.

Keep pushing your dollars at Microsoft, and they will continue to accept them. The great Democercy of ONE DOllar One Vote is gaining power every day.

Hope your RICH

Posted by: Bummer Dudes | February 8, 2006 6:37 PM | Report abuse


So what. Nobody says we have to buy it. There is plenty of free software that gets the job done.

Posted by: Frank | February 8, 2006 6:54 PM | Report abuse

Hey, I know of an OS that is far more secure than Windows and has more functionality, built right in! It's Apple's OS X. I've been a Windows user since 3.1, I've built several PCs myself, and worked in the software industry for 15 years. I now own a Powermac and it is amazing. Stable and secure. AND, no extra cost for it to continue to be stable and secure. It does everything I want and does many things better than Windows. Oh, did I mention there's no ANNUAL FEE to keep it safe and secure? What an idea.

Posted by: Kenny | February 8, 2006 7:09 PM | Report abuse

I hear a lot of complaining about Windows, and a lot of posts trashing the idea that MSFT should profit from AV and firewall services. But the service of home and auto alarms are pretty booming businesses. Did you blame your home builder for the burglar, or Ford for the car thief? No. You locked your car and installed an alarm. You hired ADT to call the police when someone breaks into the house, and put in smoke detectors so that the WOOD house wouldn't kill you when burnt to the ground. Life is full of risk and criminally minded individuals. Don't like it, go live in a cave somewhere - but beware the tigers and the bears.

I tried the mac, and it sucked - to be honest. The apps for the mac are great, too bad there are only two of them. The browser isn't supported by many sites, and so you are stuck installing 3 browsers so that you can bank and trade and shop where you want. And talk about monopolies, Apple is just as bad with their hold over the os AND the hardware.

And linux = driver hell + all the mac problems x 2.

I'll stick to windows and all its flaws over the crappy alternatives. And if OneCare works well, more power to MSFT. I have no problem using as part of a layered approach to security for my PC.

Posted by: Frank C | February 8, 2006 8:07 PM | Report abuse

Someone said it earlier, yet I believe it needs to be repeated. There are several Open Source packages that offer Anti-Virus, Firewall and Anti-Spyware that cost $0.00 and function just as well, IMHO, as the stuff you pay $50.00 a year for.

A recent auto-update to my Norton Internet Security (NIS) wiped out the ability of Firefox and Thunderbird to connect to the Internet. When my current subscription to NIS expires, it will be dumped in favor of Open Source offerings.

Posted by: Steve Maz | February 8, 2006 8:34 PM | Report abuse

Kid-Kr@cker keep the day job, since it is pretty clear you don't develop software of any kind, much less sofware used by hundreds of millions of people.

Can you cite an example of "lack of control" in Microsoft code that is more recent than 1997? How about since the Trusted Computing Initative was started? Do you even know what SDL is?

I'm also wondering how you came to the conclusion that the Windows kernel is bloated. Have you ever seen it? Would you even recognize it?

Posted by: Matt | February 8, 2006 8:56 PM | Report abuse

I think MS should open up even more ports and more remote procedure type services so that other devices can connect to their OS driven computers, and thus enhance the collaboration experience. It is not their fault their protocols are open to attack. It is your fault.

Posted by: MSBlaster | February 8, 2006 10:53 PM | Report abuse

Using Jess's logic I should be able to sue General Motors because my Chevy Tahoe was broken into, while locked?

HAHAHAHAAAHAHaha...

cough..cough..chuckle

Bless the internet and all the "rational" minds it harbors.

Posted by: Mike | February 8, 2006 11:14 PM | Report abuse

OneCare is ridiculous. Why can't Microsoft just make a decent OS to begin with that's not prone to viruses, adware, spyware, etc? They probably make a lousy OS so that they can end up charging you more to give protection that should've already been there.

Posted by: Sandy | February 8, 2006 11:32 PM | Report abuse

Oh my!

Are you windope users still being shagged by Billy-Boy and his Bear-Daddy, Stevie?

Install Linux, or keep paying the ever-increasing Idiot Tax; but, fer Gawd's sake, kwitcherbitchin!

Posted by: Al | February 8, 2006 11:46 PM | Report abuse

At first glance at this title, while skimming the Google News, I read it as "Microsoft anti-virus piercing nipples."

Posted by: Dave | February 9, 2006 12:56 AM | Report abuse

Another question is this. Who would trust protection software from a company that cannot produce secure software in the first place? It is like employing someone not very good at figures to do your auditing as well as your book-keeping.

Posted by: Steve | February 9, 2006 1:30 AM | Report abuse

I read the comments and in some cases re-read the postings and I agree and disgaree with a lot or a little of it according. As such I will only leave you with two remarks. 1) Its not bundled, woohoo (which means I can uninstall) 2) and its not free which means I can write it off.
As a note. I specialize in mixed network setups which include nix,bsd in the back and windows in the front have so for 10 years now. I teach inter-operability and best OS for task and Best OS for person(personnel) and you should too as microsoft and the evil wrongdoings (the virus,malware,whatever crap they make makers) make me money to feed my family. And the nix,bsd guys give me the extra to be able to take a vacation without having to wonder if the server went down.

My daddy once said,"be good at one thing and you fail to see the other things you can also do."

Posted by: sanitarium | February 9, 2006 2:07 AM | Report abuse

Why pay MS. There are better solutions. I see no mention of AVG Free. This is the best AV protection I have found, and of course it's FREE.

Posted by: David | February 9, 2006 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Regardless of individual feelings on Micro$oft in general, there are some moral issues involved here that ANY company would be encountering.

1) Is it moral to charge people to protect them from problems that you enabled (security holes)? This concept comes extremely close to racketeering.

2) If you have a vested interest in the add-on security products, doesn't it lessen your incentive to eliminate the flaws in the primary products?

3) Micro$soft already has a delay period in fixing the vulnerabilities that are being exploited. Wouldn't adding another complexity to this equation only increase this delay, especially if they are making money off the delays (sell more anti-virus software)?

4) Aren't many of these vulnerabilities cause by Micro$softs "do all" integration philosophy. If they designed their products as stand alone units (instead of being bundles in windows to create monopolies) then at least the OS itself would be more stable. Ex: Since IE is integrates with Windows, whatever exploits the IE core has the potential to exploit Windows itself. If Micro$soft was really concerned about security they would de-integrate their various add-ons, at least until they can fix the vulnerabilities of the individual products.

Posted by: antagonist | February 9, 2006 10:35 AM | Report abuse

In response to Frank C, using your analogies:
This would be like Ford selling a car that has many problems such as having a lock that can be shorted just by placing current from a Duracell battery to it (and this problem is being cause by the Ford brand DVD player they've being including "for free") and then selling an aftermarket door alarm instead of fixing the problems or removing the offending product (DVD player).

Or in a more real world analogy
On-star can unlock your doors, shut down your car, and track your locations. What if someone hacked their system to take advantage of these features? Should the consumer (who is already paying for a supposedly working" product) have to pay extra to hack proof their car OR should On-star fix their product or provide the TEMPORARY hack proofing for free?

Posted by: antagonist | February 9, 2006 10:56 AM | Report abuse

YOu shouldn't have to buy it. If you ain't gonna bay den stic wit da free 1s. Yaheardme!

Posted by: De'Shonte' | February 9, 2006 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Don't worry Microsoft, as long as there are so many stupid people, you'll have no problems.

Posted by: Satan | February 9, 2006 11:33 AM | Report abuse


I laugh when I read the comments here. Many people have MS offering antivirus is akin to racketeering. Racketeering is more commonly known as extortion. At no point have I seen MS say do "a" or we will do "b" with regard to securing the OS. Making such an asertion is absurd and akin to doing this:

1. My home is robbed by a 3rd party -- they broke the Window, I left it open, or someone found a new way of using a credit card to get in...
2. So I go to the home manufacture and complain.
3. The manufacture says umm.. ok these things happen. We'll make better locks to try to keep people from picking them -- but you do have to close the door and use the lock --- and there is still a risk because of the bad peple out there.
4. I complain further and demand action by the manufacture.
5. The manufacture commissions a study and finds adding fence may help (hey it's a privacy at 12' high -- and now no one can even see my house
6. I complain for weeks that my friends won't be able to find my house -- and how the manufacturer should fix the problem by making the fence free (the real extortion: because I am saying if you don't I will badmouth you and your house-manufacturing skills)
7. Eventually I pay for the fense at 1/10th the cost -- the manufacturer agreed to because 1) he's a good guy, 2) he felt sorry for me, 3) I used consumer extortion.

At no point did the manufacturer extort me.

Most consumers today have a serious over-entitlement syndrom. If something does not work for thier particular application they expect the merchant to pay more than it actually cost to make the product -- to fix thier specific application of the merchandise.

Excuse me, but my hammer will not bash wood very well, it leaves marks... oh, what do you mean it was never meant to smash wood -- it's hammer. I don't believe you when you say that it was designed to hit nails. I've always used it for hitting wood (without regard to the fact that it always leaves a mark). You mean I have to buy a piece of wood to go /w the hammer you sold me...then I have to take the effort to put that sacrificial wood on top of the wood I want to bash so that the hammer marks it and not my piece of wood? You should provided that wood me for free, the rest of the life of the hammer since it it an obvious defect in your product.

-
Consumer Insanity.

IMO

Posted by: IT PRO | February 9, 2006 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Well I might as well put my 2 cents worth: I have been using Kanotix Linux for a while now and have become very proficient using it. I like Linux better because I don't have to worry about all the virus/malware/spyware/etc. I have been running both desktop & laptop for a few years with no problems. And I will repeat what others said here. If an AVERAGE user just needs to do email, web surfing, word processing, spreadsheet....then that AVERAGE USER can use Linux quite easily. I am tired of all these people whining about their computers getting "screwed up" cause they got a virus or some other stupid thing. Micro$oft KNOWS the average user is an IDIOT, and INCOMPETENT CRETIN so it now offers, to the mass of "lemmings" an anti-virus subscription for $49!!!!! But you know, most of those average users will PAY! If Micro$oft FIXED all these "vulnerabilities" they would'nt have all their BILLIONS of dollars! Even so, if you insist on using Windows, then USE FIREFOX or OPERA! If you use your computer for non-internet things, unplug the network cable!
Up above I saw an interesting view...someone mentioned if you had to do all the maintenance on your other "appliances" like your stove, vcr, oven, refrigerator....like you have to maintain Windows, how long would you want to use those appliances? Well I think a computer is not built to be maintenance free. You have to do SOME. But an OS like Windows is so FLAWED that it seems nowadays you have to go out on a limb to protect yourself! Run the spyware program....do a defreg...run the virus scanner...update the virus scanner...run the spybot checker....SCREW THIS. I am sticking with LINUX cause I had the BALLZ and INTELLIGENCE to learn it...I have ZERO COMPUTER WOES....therefore I am SUPERIOR to all you whining, crying Micro$oft groupies!

Posted by: Bob | February 9, 2006 1:00 PM | Report abuse

What a bunch of MS bashing idiots posting here. Reminds me of the GWB bashers siding with the terrorists. Get out of your basements and go join www.stopbadware.com and understand who monitizes the backdoor trojan horse virus writers and all the Spyware/Adware perps. The online advertising industry run by unethical Adwhores paying out millions to cave dwelling cyber terrorists to shove Ad enema tubes up 300 million online consumers butts. Damn Dell.com installs Spyware/Adware on every Dell shipped system and charges endusers $49.95 to remove their crapware bundle.

I've been a H/W and software reseller -installer since 1976 and building ecommerce sites for clients since 1996. I fight the Adwhores daily since the first browser hijacker (Toptext) appeared in Y-2000. Sure you can ignor all the techie & expired updates & pitfalls of the Anti-Virus/Spyware/Adware greed mongers on older Windows versions. Just install and remember to update SpotBot S&D, Lavasoft's Ad-Aware, and AVG anti-virus while ocassionally doing online scans like X-block and Trendmicros "Housecall". See www.ecomcity.com/news.htm for all the legit security Freebee's. Just remember the first drive-by install, or freebe game/screensaver hidden bundles throttles Norton, MS security updates and the others immediately.

If you have XP or Win2000 you can install AVG, install Microsoft's Beta Anti-Spyware ( Giantsoftware.com purchase)along with Zonealarm and be 99% secure unless you, or family members, fall for the freebee download enticements by the Adwhores... ignoring the security alerts. This combo on over 200 client systems eliminated monthly service calls to remove the badware let in by fee based Norton et All.

I have installed the OneCare Beta as a 20 year MS developer veteran last October. I have installed Onecare Beta alongside the MS Anti-Spyware pkg( uninstall Zonealarm and AVG and Norton first) on nine client systems in last 7 days. Once installed it caught many nasties undetected by the more expensive Macafee -Symantic security suites. It eliminated drive-by installs and even raised alerts if I purposefully downloaded/installed freeware programs with hidden Badware bundles of joy. Load it and trust $$Bill Bill to make good on his promise to not spend billions annually to fight the cyber terrorists and their Adwhore,monitizers. Every major merchant online secretly monitizes -endorses and harbors the cybercriminals for the opportunity to advertise and attack at the point of sale on competitors websites. They use Linkshare -Befree Performics and Commission Juntion affiliate networks to pay for BHO infestations.

You idiots have no say in the matter as Microsoft has thrown down the gauntlet on the Adwhore industry. The FTC, US Congress and State's AGs have heard the screams of the victimized online shoppers and the media will seal the fate of the system kidnappers. Go Microsoft. If you want the absolute cure-all to any existing or future security threats then install www.greenborder.com on your personal and corporate PCs. I did recommend just that for all GM and EDS PC networked systems. Bye Bye Badware.

Posted by: Mike Hyland | February 9, 2006 1:06 PM | Report abuse

For everything Microsoft is saying about OneCare, they ignore the large base of Windows 2000 out there.

Too bad they haven't put that into the information they are pushing out.

Posted by: Norris | February 9, 2006 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Gates and company are at it again. They want to charge you another $50 to make their OS "secure?"

What incentive will they have to put together a secure and reliable product? What a genius way to squeeze another $50 out of the consumer.

Who has the time for all of these anti-gunk updates? How much RAM and what percentage of your processor speed is occupied by these programs?

Here's another reason to purchase a virus free, adware free, spyware fee MAC.

Posted by: osx10troublefree | February 9, 2006 9:00 PM | Report abuse

I am 83 yrs Young...Having been around for a while have seen a few scams come and go..Have 3 PCs of various ages with Windows 98 on 2 and XP on the latest..By using common sense plus some FREE protection have hhad but 1 Virus "Happy New Year" some years back.

Have suspected for a long time that since the "Pay For" protection people are making so much money due to the "Bad" stuff out there that if they do not actually generating some of it they encourage it on the sly...Why put yourself out of a very lucerative business by curing the disease.. T.J.Hegerich

Posted by: Thomas Hegerich | February 9, 2006 9:59 PM | Report abuse

An earlier post stated "What a bunch of MS bashing idiots posting here. Reminds me of the GWB bashers..." Actually, this battle reminds me a lot of the current state of affairs. Replace GWB with Micro$oft and terrorists with all the script kiddies and what do you get; the same damn situation. The consumers (or American public) get screwed on both sides by people looking out to manipulate the playing field for their own advantages. About the only thing worse are all those out there who automatically equate criticism (GWB - public questioning facts, Micro$soft -public questioning software integrity and monopoly) with "siding with the terrorists."

Posted by: Phil | February 10, 2006 12:45 AM | Report abuse

can you fix tv's

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2006 2:47 PM | Report abuse

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