Microsoft Morro Free Antivirus Service: Don't Laugh Too HardS

Microsoft's Morro antivirus service—no, not Live OneCare, their other soon-to-be-terminated antivirus deal—is hitting beta "soon," before it launches at the end of the year for free. You and I are laughing. Symantec and McAfee, not so much.

Live OneCare mostly bombed out because you had to pay for it—Morro is free, and if it's good enough to protect people against the most common nastyware, who's gonna dish out 40 bucks to Symantec for the latest Norton? People like cheap stuff if it's good, but free stuff even better if it's decent—so it's highly amusing to hear Symantec's Consumer division president Janice Chaffin crowing to Reuters that "a full Internet security suite is what consumers require today to stay fully protected."

The one real saving grace for antivirus software makers is that Microsoft isn't bundling Morro with Windows—probably only because they can't, what with the constant threat of antitrust issues that in part led them to yank other native apps out of the OS. I'd argue that security is a pretty fundamental component of an OS, so if there's any app Microsoft should be allowed to bundle, it's security software.

Maybe it is better this way—you'll be able to download it for free if you really want it, like other Windows Live apps. But then I wonder if a bundled Morro could've saved Adam, so we'd still have one more cranky Windows guy in the world. [Reuters]