If you're in the market for a new security suite for your Windows PC, it might be worth it to hold off for a few days. On Tuesday, July 23, Microsoft's free solution enters a limited beta.
You may know it by its codename, 'Morro,' but the official name is Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE). In order to get a copy (for 32 or 64 bit versions of XP, Vista or Windows 7) you only have to be one of the first 75,000 users to hit http://www.microsoft.com/security_essentials after the beta launches on the 23rd. Ars Technica has all the details.
Microsoft Security Essentials will eventually replace the Windows Live OneCare service and turns off Windows Defender when installed (since it performs the same duties). It won't offer all the services of OneCare but instead focuses on security (anti-virus, anti-malware, etc). Ars Technica got ahold of an early version and offers some bullet points: small footprint, CPU throttling, idle-time scanning, and more.
On paper, it sounds like a good product. Are you willing to trust your PC's security to a beta version of an antivirus suite? I think I'll try it out on an old system that I've installed Windows 7 on. AVG's free solution has been serving me well on my main PC and I see no reason to replace it. But it sounds like I'm not Microsoft's target audience. They're going after all the Windows users that don't have any kind of security solution in place, which makes sense. If Microsoft can get these people to run Microsoft Security Essentials, the Windows platform as an entity becomes more secure, which is a win for Microsoft's public image and probably has more value than any revenue they might have made had they chose to sell MSE.