Microsoft today will make its Windows OneCare Live “computer-health” service available free in a test, as reported in today’s Wall Street Journal. The Redmond giant plans to charge a monthly subscription fee once the service is formally launched next year.
OneCare, according to Microsoft, brings together antivirus, firewall, backup-and-recovery and PC-maintenance software under an umbrella service, and positions the company to enter the security-software market against rivals Symantec and McAfee.
The trial is part of Microsoft’s approach to marketing software as a service. Google and Salesforce.com have led the way in selling subscriptions and online-advertising in place of selling software packages.
Microsoft’s approach is based on two services: OneCare and an ad-supported Web site dubbed the Windows Live Safety Center, which offers free virus cleanups. Together, they will make PC care similar to car maintenance, says Ryan Hamlin, general manager of Microsoft’s technology care-and-safety group.
“This is not for the super tech savvy,” Hamlin says. “This is for the common Windows user who just wants their PC to be safe.”
OneCare seeks to respond to Microsoft market research that revealed that computers have become a source of frustration to customers, and users didn’t know if they were doing the right things to keep their machines running.