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Microsoft Ending Equipt Consumer Service

Microsoft plans to discontinue an all-in-one consumer software offering called Microsoft Equipt after April 30.

Microsoft plans to discontinue an all-in-one consumer software offering called Microsoft Equipt after April 30. The decision was announced at Microsoft's Equipt home page.

The Equipt subscriptions -- which bundled Windows Live OneCare and other Windows Live services, along with Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007 software -- were launched in July and sold exclusively through Circuit City retail stores.

Last month, Circuit City announced it was going out of business. However, Microsoft's reasons for ending the consumer offering, originally code-named "Albany," have more to do with its earlier decision to cease OneCare subscriptions.

OneCare is noteworthy as a ground-breaking effort by Microsoft to sell software as a service to consumers. The suite of online applications in OneCare provides PC upgrade support and antivirus protection based on an annual subscription fee. Microsoft already announced a phase out of OneCare retail sales by June 30, but customers are supported for the life of the annual subscription, Microsoft said at the time.

Microsoft is winding down OneCare because it plans to offer a free antivirus solution enabling PC protection globally. The solution, which currently goes by the code name "Morro," is expected to be available by the end of this year.

Microsoft is telling its Equipt subscribers to seek a prorated refund, or a complete refund for those who never used the service. In addition to the refund, Microsoft is providing a free copy of Office Home and Student 2007.

The Equipt software will continue to work until the service finally expires in April. When it expires, Microsoft cautions consumers to have antivirus software in place, according to its FAQ.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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