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Microsoft to Offer Subscription Security Service

Microsoft is planning to ffer a new security service in June, starting at $50 a year for a subscription. They first put out a beta service November 2005, and will offer a $20 a year price for test users who sign up in April. Acording to Reuters, “Microsoft said it aims to fill a void in the security market by offering an all-in-one service that includes anti-virus, firewall and anti-spyware software along with backup and computer performance maintenance tools.”

Now, there are few things that this makes me think about. First, Microsoft is obviously looking for some new recurring revenue streams. This is a good business decision on Microsoft’s part. Fifty dollars a year is not a huge expense for the bundly they are offering. In addition, who knows the Windows OS better than Microsoft themselves.

Second, it does seem somewhat odd that Microsoft would charge for a service that, for the most part, plugs security holes in the OS that they developed and sold to the consumer. To come back and charge for software that helps to protect your system from those same defects seems somewhat dishonest. There is no doubt that they did not leave any security issues open deliberately, but the fact is that other OS’es have far better track records than Microsoft when it comes to security. They have said that they would put a higher priority on making their products secure, but there never was a definition of how much time and effort they would really put into that effort.

Lastly, I would have hoped that most of the functions that are bring offered in this bundle would be offered with the OS in the first place. I do not see this as that big a deal, they do include a large number of standard features in their OS, and the fact that they want to create a bundle that includes/upgrades what may already be installed just makes them the same as every other software vendor. Will I sign up for this? I doubt it, there is enough freeware out there that keeps me safe, at least as safe as I expect to be, whether I purchase their software or not.

Posted by Jeff


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