Microsoft has sent shockwaves through the security sector by announcing that it will be dropping the subscription model for its OneCare software, opting instead to offer it free to customers.
Codenamed Morro, the software is expected to be released sometime in the second half of next year and will offer customers protection against viruses, spyware and rootkits.
Microsoft's senior director of product management Amy Barzdukas said that the move had been in response to continuing high levels of customers with no security protection at all.
"We know that there are still some 60 per cent of consumers in developed markets and even more in emerging markets, that don't have up-to-date security protection on their PCs, and we wanted to help provide that core level of protection," she said.
She added that the move to ditch OneCare had not been motivated by falling market share or competition, but that the product simply lacked relevance in emerging markets. "Microsoft was one of the first companies to offer an all-in-one solution that not only offered protection from malware and spyware, but also provided additional features such as printer sharing, networking and performance tuning.
"Those features make a lot of sense in multi-PC households, but aren't really of much help to consumers in emerging markets," she explained.
The company did not say if it was planning to include the software as part of Windows or as a separate package.