Microsoft OneCare coming in June

Microsoft's Windows OneCare Live backup and security service will be available in June, costing $49.95 per year.

Microsoft will launch its Windows OneCare Live PC maintenance service in June, the company said Tuesday. The product, which has been available for free in beta since November, will be sold for US$49.95 per year, and certain beta users will be able to purchase the service for a reduced rate of US$19.95.

The service is designed to simplify PC maintenance for consumers by combining antivirus, antispyware, PC tuning and backup capabilities through one interface. Increasingly analysts and vendors believe this type of integrated service will replace stand-alone antivirus and backup products that are widely used today.

Combined services like OneCare have a good chance of succeeding in the US$15 billion per year consumer security market, said Andrew Jaquith, senior analyst with Yankee Group Research Inc. "It's a good idea," he said. "OneCare was really a market-moving event when it was announced a year ago, because it wasn't obvious these things should be put together."

Security vendors are clearly paying attention. Just last week, Symantec announced plans to launch a competitor to OneCare, code-named Genesis, which is due in September. Like OneCare, Genesis will provide antivirus, antispyware, system tuning and backup and recovery services.

The free beta version of the service is available here: http://ideas.live.com/.

Beta testers who sign up for the paid service between April 1 and April 30th will get the special rate of US$19.95.

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