Microsoft Releases Final Security Essentials

Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE), offers Windows users a comprehensive antimalware scanner for users running Windows XP SP2, Vista or the upcoming Windows 7, which is scheduled for release at the end of October. Altogether, the antivirus product is designed to combat an array of malware, such as viruses, Trojan horses, Internet worms, botnets and spyware.

Microsoft released a beta version of MSE in June, available to the first 75,000 users in the U.S. and Brazil. However, the number of downloads far exceeded the 75,000 limit after less than a day, forcing Microsoft to discontinue beta version downloads of Security Essentials.

MSE is Microsoft's second take at a comprehensive antivirus, antimalware product, replacing Windows Live OneCare, the company's former subscription antivirus product. Redmond officially discontinued Live OneCare at the end of June after it failed commercially.

Microsoft contends that MSE is not intended to directly compete with antivirus giants Symantec and McAfee. Instead, Microsoft argues that it is targeting the millions of home office or consumer users around the world that can't afford or refuse to pay for antimalware protection on their PCs.

Sponsored post

Meanwhile, security vendors have contended that Microsoft's new antimalware product, which is largely targeted toward the consumer space, would likely not take away market share or have a significant impact on their businesses, particularly in the midmarket and enterprise.

Microsoft executives maintain that MSE is a lightweight option that fills in the gaps for consumers and small businesses needing antimalware protection without a lot of extras.

MSE will, however, go head-to-head with other free downloads, provided by AVG and other antivirus vendors, which have relied upon free software to promote brand awareness and ultimately entice users to invest in paid security software

Early reviews of MSE have been fairly positive. However, critics have expressed concern that users would rely solely upon the free MSE to the exclusion of other security software, thinking that they're adequately protected.

MSE is available for download Tuesday in eight languages from 19 countries.