Friday, June 19, 2009

Microsoft 'Morro' Nears Beta With New Name

Microsoft's new effort at delivering a free anti-malware service now has an official name -- and the software giant has set a date for public beta testing of the software to begin.

The free service, codenamed "Morro," is currently in internal testing within Microsoft and will begin public beta testing in Brazil, Israel and the U.S. by June 23, a company spokesperson said in a e-mail .

And the new name -- drum roll please: Microsoft Security Essentials.

"Microsoft Security Essentials has been designed as a no-cost anti-malware solution that provides consumers with quality protection from threats including viruses, spyware, rootkits and Trojans," the spokesperson said.

Just over a week ago, Microsoft announced it was readying Morro for its beta debut.

At the same time, it also announced it would halt sales of its Live OneCare PC health service as of the end of June. During its three-year existence, Live OneCare had struggled to attract large numbers of subscribers.

Now, Microsoft Security Essentials will replace some of the functions of Live OneCare -- the ones related to end-user security. Live OneCare offers maintenance, backup and performance tuning in addition to security functions like antivirus and malware detection and removal.

Meanwhile, Microsoft officials have said that the goal of the new service is to make sure that most users have some kind of anti-malware protection even if they don't subscribe to one of the pay products from security firms.

The service will be hosted directly by Microsoft when it reaches general availability later this year.

Microsoft has put up a site where the beta test will be available. However, the site will not be live until about 9 a.m. Pacific time on June 23, the spokesperson said.

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