The No

By Larry Seltzer  |  Posted 2006-06-21 Print this article Print

-Frills Future of Security"> I have still not tested OneCare. Competitors have been pushing me hard on the claim that it compares badly to their offerings in terms of features and that may be true. But I wonder whether that will resonate with users who are always telling me how much they love the free anti-virus from AVG, which, ironically, uses viral marketing in your own e-mails.
The consumer security industry has, over the last several years, been pushing more elaborate and expensive solutions on users and increasing prices for them. A no-frills solution may be just what they want.
Sunbelts Alex also points out that Microsoft will be going for the throat in the business market too, but this is a very different market. To a degree, the same pricing dynamic works: security software is expensive, some companies skimp on it and, as a result, are vulnerable. Microsoft can increase the overall level of protection in the installed base by coming in with low prices. But its also true that the company will have a heavy burden of reputation to overcome in business markets, plus the fact that, all other things being equal, its better to get your security and systems software from a variety of vendors. Throw away all the other considerations and assume, for the sake of argument, that Microsoft is just coming in with lower prices to undercut the competition. Gee, this seems like a good thing to me, not being one of its competitors. And its not tying any of these products (to my knowledge) to other products where it has substantial market share. And nobody could possibly claim, as was claimed in the Federal antitrust case, that no effective competition exists. People in business know they can go elsewhere. So if competitors think its unfair that Microsoft is undercutting them they can address the problem by making their prices more competitive. And if they go whining to the U.S. or (more likely) EU authorities, you, the customer, can take note of the fact that they think theyre entitled to an ever-increasing amount of money from you each year. Editors Note: This story was updated to correct the name of the company referred to as using e-mail viral marketing. Security Center Editor Larry Seltzer has worked in and written about the computer industry since 1983. He can be reached at Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest security news, reviews and analysis. And for insights on security coverage around the Web, take a look at Security Center Editor Larry Seltzers Weblog.

Larry Seltzer has been writing software for and English about computers ever since—,much to his own amazement—,he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1983.

He was one of the authors of NPL and NPL-R, fourth-generation languages for microcomputers by the now-defunct DeskTop Software Corporation. (Larry is sad to find absolutely no hits on any of these +products on Google.) His work at Desktop Software included programming the UCSD p-System, a virtual machine-based operating system with portable binaries that pre-dated Java by more than 10 years.

For several years, he wrote corporate software for Mathematica Policy Research (they're still in business!) and Chase Econometrics (not so lucky) before being forcibly thrown into the consulting market. He bummed around the Philadelphia consulting and contract-programming scenes for a year or two before taking a job at NSTL (National Software Testing Labs) developing product tests and managing contract testing for the computer industry, governments and publication.

In 1991 Larry moved to Massachusetts to become Technical Director of PC Week Labs (now eWeek Labs). He moved within Ziff Davis to New York in 1994 to run testing at Windows Sources. In 1995, he became Technical Director for Internet product testing at PC Magazine and stayed there till 1998.

Since then, he has been writing for numerous other publications, including Fortune Small Business, Windows 2000 Magazine (now Windows and .NET Magazine), ZDNet and Sam Whitmore's Media Survey.

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