Microsoft just sucker-punched McAfee and Symantec right in the stones today with a carefully-worded press release about the future of Windows Security. In a move I’ve been anticipating since the inclusion of Windows Defender into Windows Vista, Microsoft has made it clear, on no uncertain terms, that it is taking full responsibility for the security of the operating system. There are currently few solutions that offer affordable solutions for PCs in emerging markets, where bandwidth may be low, or the PCs may be closer to Netbooks in power. When you only have a GB or less of RAM, every megabyte counts.
So Microsoft basically just told the major players in the antivirus industry to eff-off, and will be offering a new security product, codename “Morro”, on or near June 30, 2009. This product is apparently based off of Microsoft’s ForeFront offering. Now, that date is interesting for a couple reasons. One is because it is the last day of Microsoft’s fiscal year, and it’s also the beginning of the second half of 2009, which is around the time when Microsoft is supposedly shipping Windows 7. Could Microsoft be looking to launch Windows 7 on June 30th? IMHO it’s starting to look that way.
Now, I’m not a betting man. But if I were a betting man, I would bet on the following things happening:
- “Morro” will be released in conjunction with Windows 7 (meaning on the same day).
- Windows 7 will have download links for the new service built into the OS (just like Windows Live).
- Symantec is going to scream bloody murder.
On the last point, I happen to agree with Charles Cooper that there aren’t really antitrust concerns here, though as his colleague Ina Fried suggests, it’s bound to come up. One thing I find odd is that OneCare for Server is less than a week old, and as Mary Jo noted, is now also dead too.
I for one think it’s great that Microsoft is going to put its resources into a best-of-breed solution for malware, instead of all the other ancillary nonsense. With Skydrive, Live Sync, Live Photos, Live Mesh, and WHS, Microsoft has the backup playing field covered. With Windows 7, HomeGroups have the file and printer sharing stuff covered, so there is no need to duplicate this stuff in other ways. The new Windows mantra is “Cutting Is Shipping”, and I for one am glad that Microsoft is starting to trim the fat.
And to all the other antivirus vendors, take note: there will still be ways to innovate against this new offering. Spend your time trying to figure them out instead of whining about it.