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1/5/2007
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Microsoft OneCare Security Suite Loses Ground

While OneCare accounted for nearly 11% of U.S. consumer security suite sales in June, by October its slice had shrunk to 6%.

Microsoft released version 1.5 of its consumer security suite, which supports the new Windows Vista operating system, to manufacturing earlier this week. But according to a market research firm, the product faces an uphill battle against long-time players such as Symantec.

Windows Live OneCare 1.5 met its RTM (Release To Manufacturing) milestone, said Yoav Schwartz, OneCare's lead program manager, on the group's blog Wednesday. "It will be available both at retail and on the Web at the end of January," said Schwartz.

Microsoft's security suite includes a personal firewall, anti-virus and anti-spyware scanning, general PC tune-up tools, and data backup features. Some of the tools are homegrown, while others come from several security acquisitions over the last two years. The subscription-based software costs $49.95 annually for use on up to three PCs.

However, according to data from the NDP Group, OneCare has had little success in stealing users from the traditional consumer security powerhouses like Symantec and McAfee. While OneCare accounted for nearly 11% of U.S. consumer security suite sales in June, the first full month after version 1.0 debuted, by October its slice had shrunk to 6%. Symantec, meanwhile, remained the dominant player, with 74% of the market in October, while McAfee held down second place with approximately 10%.

OneCare 1.5 will be available from the Microsoft Web site as well as in the retail channel. After a free 90-day trial using the downloaded version, users must pay the $49.95 annual fee. Existing paid users will be able to upgrade to 1.5 free of charge.

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