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Microsoft plans more security offerings

Morro, Microsoft’s free consumer security software, is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg regarding the company’s latest security push.

Microsoft this week announced that a security and IT management offering for businesses will become part of its hosted Microsoft Online Services family in 2010. And the company also has a major security-related announcement planned for next month.

But in the meantime, the focus is still on Morro, and more observers are weighing in on Microsoft’s strategy. Security expert Rich Mogull says Microsoft is positioned for success in the consumer antivirus market. Symantec, McAfee and other leaders “will need to seriously innovate to survive once Morro is released,” he says, because “users won’t be willing to pay the $70-$99 a year AV tax once a viable product appears.”

Microsoft is discontinuing its Windows Live OneCare subscription security service in favor of Morro. Symantec and McAfee both said Microsoft can afford to do that because OneCare’s market share is so low, according to The Microsoft Blog at SeattlePI.com:

Symantec: “We view this announcement as a capitulation by Microsoft, and a reinforcement of the notion that it’s simply not in Microsoft’s DNA to provide high-quality, frequently updated security protection.”

McAfee: “Microsoft exited the mainstream consumer security business. With OneCare’s market share of less than 2%, we understand Microsoft’s decision to shift attention to their core business.”

The move to Morro has also fueled the flames for those, like myself, who think Microsoft’s naming conventions are way too convoluted and confusing — especially when it comes to its hosted offerings, where brand names include Microsoft Online Services and Windows Live. Some services that are now in the Online family used to be called “Live” and vice versa.

“I find it nearly impossible to keep track of the SaaS brands and subscription services Microsoft continually launches, kills or repositions,” says the MSPmentor.

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