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12 June 2009, 14:31

Morro, Microsoft's free anti-malware tool, in beta soon

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Media reports say Microsoft is already testing Morro, its promised new anti-virus product, on its own employees. It will shortly offer a public test or beta version for downloading, but no precise dates have been given. There isn't much more new information yet. When heise Security asked Microsoft Deutschland about it, press spokesman Thomas Baumgärtner could only confirm that Morro is scheduled for the second half of 2009.

Morro is a replacement for OneCare, the more or less unsuccessful commercial security software whose termination as of 30 June 2009 was announced late last year. The free anti-malware tool will be able to recognize viruses, spyware, root-kits and trojans. Although Morro is going to use the same engine as OneCare, Microsoft says it will grab fewer system resources and so be ideal for less powerful PCs with slow internet connections.

Morro will lack OneCare's security unrelated functions, such as back-up and system restore. Microsoft intends to offer Morro for download as a stand-alone product for Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7. It hopes this step will enable it to protect still more users against infections.

Reuters reports that after the announcement of the first version of Morro the share prices of the top-selling US firms Symantec and McAfee fell, while Microsoft's rose. Symantec and McAfee officials are quoted as saying they don't regard Morro as a threat, as it is "basically a stripped down version of the OneCare product" and since OneCare was obviously not accepted by consumers, Morro therefore, won't meet consumers' present-day requirements.

Symantec was less relaxed about it in 2005, when it lodged a complaint with the European Commission after Microsoft announced plans to integrate a free anti-virus and anti-spyware program, called Microsoft Client Protection, into Windows (Vista).

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