Microsoft Antivirus App Not Exactly a Service

Microsoft Security Essentials -- code name Morro -- made its beta debut today. The free antivirus application provides basic protection against viruses and worms. But, contrary to early reports, it's not a service.

Microsoft flipped the switch and started distributing the beta version of Microsoft Security Essentials - a free antivirus application that succeeds Microsoft Windows Defender and OneCare service. Geared mostly toward consumers and home users, the application promises real-time protection against worms, viruses and other common pieces of malware.

Microsoft Security Essentials-code name Morro-is the long awaited antivirus application the market has been anticipating since Microsoft bought Sybari and Giant nearly five years ago. While MSE's various successors have enjoyed some degree of technical success, they failed to penetrate the market in any degree to make a dent in market leaders Symantec, McAfee and Trend Micro.

MSE is also not the cloud-based service that Microsoft was reportedly going to bring to market. Early reports of Morro's development dating back to November 2008 stated that the antivirus app would be delivered as a service, and that all users' traffic would flow through a Microsoft data center. Early reviews of MSE say that it's primarily a client-based application that sends Microsoft data on infections and attacks for comparison and analysis. With that data, Microsoft is able to develop new signatures and make adjustments in protection levels.

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