Microsoft has been testing out, for at least two years, the concept of offering consumers security and management services on a hosted basis. (It did so via a prototype known as the PC Satisfaction Trial.)
Earlier this month, the Redmond software vendor went public with its plans to launch the resulting MSN-branded subscription service, code-named A1—and officially christened "Windows OneCare."
We still dont know a whole heck of a lot about OneCare. We dont know how much it will cost, who will sell it and whether or not customers will be interested in buying such a service from Microsoft.
We also dont know whether Microsoft will field a version of OneCare for enterprises. Given that enterprises have entire departments dedicated to securing and managing their systems, it doesnt seem as if such a product would be of much interest.
Mike Nash, head of the companys security technology and business unit, said during a Webcast this week that Microsoft was planning an enterprise version of OneCare. Now company officials are saying that "there are no current plans" for such a product. But Gartner Group and other pundits are predicting Microsoft will, indeed, field something like OneCare for corporate users.
Later, company officials said there "might" be such a product, but it was not definite. (Now we hear they are outright denying that such a product is in the wings.)
Heres what we do know. Microsoft is the newcomer to this subscription-security-service space, trailing Symantec and McAfee. While Microsoft might undercut its competitors in price, its unlikely to go too far (by bundling too much for free) so as not to rile antitrust watchers.