There has been a distinct little industry of antivirus software producers who have been competitive to keep our computers virus free. Small specialist companies have traditionally dominated this industry. But in 2006, the mighty Microsoft thread their hat into the ring. Should other companies be afraid? Here is the background.
Microsoft has taken something of a novel approach. They provide a subscription service called Windows Live OneCare, which offers a variety of services including antivirus protection. In addition there is spyware protection, a firewall, a back up utility and features for managing a home network.
Many people will welcome this product. It is clearly aimed squarely at the home market. Whereas many of us at work have the luxury of calling technical support if anything goes wrong, at home we have to fend for ourselves.
The antivirus component carries out a regular virus scan of your system and is able to remove viruses as well. Microsoft has invested heavily in this field with the acquisition of some smaller antivirus software producers.
Although users will get the confidence of dealing with a household name, there have been concerns raised. As may be expected some of the smaller competitors have exposed limitations of the OneCare antivirus protection. But what will be more of a worry to Microsoft is that independent tests from the likes of Virus Bulletin and AV-Comparatives. These have shown that OneCare is simply not as effective at detecting viruses as other software.
Of course things are likely to improve in the future. But should you be using this as your only antivirus protection at the moment? Many experts in the security industry are still skeptical. You could take advantage of Microsoft's 90-day free trial to get a personal opinion.