San Jose (CA) - The security software scene just got more interesting with Microsoft and its OneCare application and service package. It's priced below competitive offers and may force other vendors to rethink their product strategy. Expect them to bank on their experience advantage, software features and try to pick up users while riding along with Microsoft's marketing campaign.
When Microsoft decides to play in yet another game, it's typically not great news for its new competition. Microsoft isn't competing for second place and always aims for a hefty share of the market to eventually lead the segment. And just as the company is out to pull Sony from its game console throne, Microsoft's recent entry into the consumer security software field will inject new dynamics into an established group of competitors.
So, with the new player in the game, do you switch from your existing security package to a cheaper and more integrated solution that is offered by Microsoft? The decision may be not an easy one and may depend on a whole set of factors, but at least McAfee claims that OneCare isn't quite up to standard yet and may not provide users a level of protection that is required for all existing and emerging security threats.
In a conversation with TG Daily, Marc Solomon, director of product management for McAfee's consumer products, considered OneCare as "incomplete". In its current first version, OneCare "does not offer solutions against phishing, spam filtering and identity theft," he said.
McAfee provided a first look at its upcoming security software with the release of beta software last Friday. It may not be just coincidence that this version comes with a variety of new tools that cover the OneCare gaps mentioned by Solomon and reacts to other emerging security threats with a feature to remove rootkits and a "site advisor" that warns users, if they are requesting a web page that includes potential security threats. While Solomon said that the new software is not a reaction to OneCare, it becomes clear that features and experience could become the main defense of the security software industry against Microsoft.
"We are uniquely positioned with a new product," said Solomon. "Microsoft is not a proven technology [in this space]. According to a recently published review of security software, OneCare was rated as 'good'. But 'good' is not good enough in this field. McAfee's Internet Security Suite was rated as "superior'," he said. Solomon banks on this perception to retain and gain customers: "Anyone who has lost data understands the importance of protection from security threats."
However, he indicated that McAfee will also try to reach new customers by taking advantage of Microsoft entering the security software field. "Microsoft's marketing dollars are creating awareness for security software. Large parts of consumer PCs are still unprotected today," he said. "Microsoft will definitely help to educate customers."