Plodding Microsoft Offers Antivirus Subscription

May 13, 2005
In webhosting security news, Microsoft has announced that they will enter the consumer antivirus industry. The company will charge a subscription fee for a security service similar to what McAfee and Symantec are currently offering.
According to a New York Times article, Microsoft has justified charging a fee because consumers don’t want to be responsible for the protection of their own PCs and simply want someone else to take care of it.

Ryan Hamlin, general manager of the Microsoft Technology Care and Safety Group likened the new service to an oil change, "I feel better pulling into a garage and saying, 'do it for me,' " he said. "This is targeted at the Jiffy Lube customer."
This is an interesting take on the pricing model for the new service when Microsoft is currently facing the most pressure from Linux in the OS arena over their licensing upgrade pricing model which in a sense is similar in that you are never really finished paying for the product.

While the antivirus service will begin a trial version of the service beginning next week it’s too bad the software giant doesn’t simply secure their operating systems for free. Microsoft endures such bad press and such negative criticism from the Linux community over their security it would cause a great deal of that to cease. If they simply offered to include the service for free with the OS they could also do the Internet a great service by cleaning up the armies of zombie PCs that are currently out there enabling DDoS attacks and spammers to so easily bring down other web sites and further cause damage with viruses.

By charging for the product they won’t get to a large segment of the zombies out there. While every company should be expected to charge for their services Microsoft is in a unique position of owning a near monopoly in the PC OS market and these PCs are causing a lot of problems because of their lack of inherent security.

Redmond should take some responsibility and act as a good corporate citizen and help clean up the massive security problems with rampant spam and zombie PCs. This would create a lot of good will towards the company and improve the performance of all of the PCs that are currently bogged down with viruses, spyware, and adware which would further engender loyalty to Microsoft from their current customers.

Hackers have the upper hand now and collaboration is needed to make the Internet safe. It would be nice if Microsoft were to look at the bigger picture rather than the bottom line.

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