As promised, Microsoft has opened up the test for its forthcoming OneCare Live security subscription product to the general public.
OneCare marks Microsoft’s long-anticipated entry into the consumer antivirus space, which has been the domain of specialized vendors such as Symantec, McAfee and Trend Micro. Two years ago, Microsoft announced its intent to offer antivirus products when it bought Romanian antivirus software developer GeCad Software.
Microsoft unveiled its plans for OneCare in May. Select testers have been invited to try it since July, and Microsoft recently added features to the beta. The product is now available for testing by anyone with a U.S. English version of Windows XP with Service Pack 2, a Microsoft representative said Tuesday. Final release is expected in 2006.
OneCare is meant for consumers and combines anti-spyware software–which Microsoft is also publicly testing–with antivirus software, firewall software and several tune-up tools for Windows PCs. Microsoft has not announced pricing for OneCare but has said the final package will be offered as a subscription service.
The OneCare beta can be downloaded from ideas.live.com. As the number of testers increases, Microsoft may delay access to the service for some users, the company said.