Microsoft makes OneCare free for some

Posted by bink on April 26 2006, 12:03 PM. Posted in OneCare.

As Microsoft prepares to roll out its Windows Live OneCare security product, it is offering some people the $49.95-a-year service for free.

On Tuesday, Microsoft sent e-mail invitations to a select number of people who have been testing OneCare, asking them to join a "perpetual beta." These people get to use the service at no cost and will have early access to new features, said Brooke Richardson, a lead product manager at Microsoft.

"They do not have to pay for the service, but we ask them to give us feedback," she said. "We expect it will be a small number of our users, less than 1 percent of our user base, that we will ask to stay in this perpetual beta." That would be hundreds or thousands of users, Richardson said.

The testers will receive beta software, which could have glitches, Richardson said. However, Microsoft doesn't plan to load code onto PCs that will really break the system, she said. Testers will receive updates to the software a few days before Microsoft plans to release it to the general public, according to Microsoft's beta test Web site, accessible only to testers.

Windows OneCare Live is scheduled to debut in June.

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