Microsoft will release a fully supported version of its Windows Live OneCare software tomorrow, marking the software giant's entry into the security software market.
OneCare will be available for download as of May 31 on Microsoft's Web site, a day earlier than expected. By Thursday, the software is expected to be widely available in U.S. retail stores, said Microsoft's Samantha McManus, a business strategy manager with Windows Live OneCare.
The software will begin shipping outside of the U.S. "within the next year," she said, while declining to say which country would be the first to follow the U.S. launch. The software, which will cost about $50 annually for up to three PCs, may be purchased from Microsoft's OneCare site.
OneCare includes firewall, antivirus, and backup software, as well as Microsoft's Windows Defender antispyware technology, which is still in beta form. The product also handles routine maintenance tasks such as defragmenting the hard disk and cleaning up unused temporary files.
Microsoft's entry into the market shakes things up for security vendors like Symantec and McAfee, which are now scrambling to deliver security products that have the same back-up and PC tuning features as their new competitor.