Killing OneCare and Calling It a Success

We've covered (and lamented) OneCare quite a bit. For one, we were concerned that OneCare competed directly with McAfee, Symantec, Sophos and Sunbelt. These companies all built anti-virus/anti-malware software that saved Windows from a viral meltdown. Their reward? Having Microsoft compete with them directly, and even denigrate partners that chose to work with non-Redmond-sourced security software.

We also said that OneCare didn't seem to work very well. It wasn't my opinion -- it was yours! You told me of all its problems. I never used the thing.

Now Microsoft doesn't care one lick about OneCare and is killing it off next June. One Microsoft exec explains that putting OneCare on death row doesn't mean it's guilty of failure. The problem is that poor people need protection too and can't afford the $50 yearly price tag. (Hmm...I've argued many times that anti-malware should be built right into the OS, just like brakes and turn signals and seat belts are built right into the car.)

Microsoft may be turning in this direction with Morro, a free tool that will replace OneCare. If Morro can stand up to other top-end anti-malware tools, I'll be a happy computing camper and take back all the bad things I ever said about OneCare.

Open Source Closed for Business
A leader of the open source movement recently penned a piece for BusinessWeek arguing that the "open source business model is broken."

My first reaction is that open source wasn't founded on a business model, but on a software development model. This software model was then adapted by companies such as Red Hat to underpin efforts to make money.

But before I get distracted by too much philosophy, let's look at the argument made by Stuart Cohen, CEO of Collaborative Software Initiative. Cohen wrote that selling support for open source tools isn't the moneymaker many thought. The thing is, open source doesn't need all that much support, Cohen argued. Open source companies need to find news ways, whether it's adding new layers of software or building communities, to keep the whole business moving.

Making money off something that's intrinsically free is difficult? Who would've thought? How would you make a buck from open source? Moneymaking ideas welcome at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

A Christmas Surprise
While less conservative than it was two decades ago, IBM isn't exactly a wild and crazy company. So when IBM told me that electronic holiday toys could include malware, I had to trust the information.

The idea is that toys, especially those that connect via USB, could be loaded with software to give hackers a backdoor entry to your machine and maybe your network.

Mailbag: Thoughts on 'Vista Capable,' Yahoo, OneCare, More
There's just no shortage of opinions when it comes to the "Vista Capable" sticker lawsuit. Today, it's the Microsoft defenders' turn:

OK...just a sanity check here. All of you whining about this, please look carefully at the your computer and see if you can figure out who manufactured it. Those whose computers were manufactured by Microsoft, keep complaining about MS. The rest of you, aim your complaints at the computer manufacturer! So much whine, bring on the cheese!
-Terry

I think MS should win the case. It's fun to knock the "Big Dawg" which is why people tend to root for underdogs. I believe Microsoft didn't even have to put that label on the hardware. Let's not blame it for the ignorance of others.
-Michael

In my opinion, Vista is not just Vista Ultimate. I believe (correct me if I am wrong) there are other editions including Home Basic, Home Premium, Business, etc. If a machine can run Vista Basic (without the razzmatazz of Vista Ultimate), then the machine is "Vista Capable." If the sticker said "Aero Capable," then we have a different game entirely. I use an HP dv2910us with 3GB RAM, and it's very capable of running Aero, but I use the Windows Classic theme. Just because Aero is turned off, doesn't mean I am not running Vista.

Microsoft should pay, but not through its nose.
-Anonymous

I think everyone is missing the point about the "Vista Capable" stickers. Yes, Microsoft goofed when it allowed manufacturers to use them. However, Microsoft did not manufacture any of those low-end computers or place the stickers on the computers. Most of the blame should go to the manufacturers who wanted to mislead consumers about low-end computers.

Another important question is: Why does Vista have so many flavors? Could Microsoft be making these stripped-down products in response to manufacturers' needs? Could it be making them to make more affordable products? After all, it doesn't cost Microsoft any more money to ship Ultimate than it does to ship Home Basic. Unlike Apple, Microsoft does not control the entire manufacturing practice for its computers. If it did and forced manufacturers to make high-end computers, it would deny access to a large segment of the populace.
-Earl

As they try to hang MS, how many of those same folks are trying to fry the auto companies for the mileage ratings posted on the windows of new cars? I know the auto companies all say, "Well, those are the numbers from the government testing," but I don't hear any of them saying, "Here's what you should really expect to get."
-Anonymous

After news broke that Jerry Yang was leaving Yahoo, Doug wrote that he'd be happy with just 1 percent of Yang's success. He's not alone:

I totally agree with you on your statement. Look at the high-tech industry as a whole and the persons who started to develop companies. How many have created something major and then let go from the company? If I am not mistaken, this happened recently at VMware.
-Lee

Bill doesn't think OneCare deserves the bad rap it's been getting:

One of my pet peeves with the nightly "news" programs has been the way they casually plant uncorroborated, inaccurate statements in the programs and repeat them frequently. One of your recent Redmond Reports contains such a statement: "problem-plagued Live OneCare." I have this product installed on many systems with many happy VSB users. Version 2, the current one, has worked well. It's easy to administer and has been successful in protecting the computers. I have not had to repair or clean viruses from any of these systems. It is less intrusive than any of the other anti-virus programs that are on other computers I administer.

I am happy with OneCare and hate to see it go. But then I am a user, not a journalist.
-Bill

And finally, Fred needs some Wi-Fi security answers. Can some knowledgeable reader help him out?

After my initial consternation upon reading your report on the latest Wi-Fi hack, I began to wonder. As a Wi-Fi user in my home, a single-family house in a neighborhood of single-family houses, on a short street that dead-ends between two minor cross streets, how concerned should I be about the insecurity of my simple WEP Wi-Fi connection at home?

Agreed: In a hotel or at a public hot spot, I'm at serious risk. But how about at home, under the circumstances described above?
-Fred

Got an answer for Fred? Want to comment on anything else we've covered today? Fill out the form below or send an e-mail dbarney@redmondmag.com.

About the Author

Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.

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