Microsoft launched its free suite of security software on Tuesday. Microsoft Security Essentials is now available as a free download to users of genuine Windows software.
So how good is it? Depends on who you ask.
Independent lab AV-Test.org has called Microsoft Security Essentials "very good." Symantec, which offers Norton Antivirus 2009 for only $39.95 more than Security Essentials, panned their new rival as a "poor product" with "very average detection rates."
Microsoft has tried and failed to capture this market before; remember Windows Defender and OneCare? My guess is that - barring some disastrous breach - this product will live or die based on how little it manages to annoy end-users. This new release is version 1.0, which means it is fresh from beta testing and just poking its head out into the real world. For a scathing review of Security Essentials from a usability standpoint, take a look at this blog post from the About.com Windows site.