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Microsoft Debuts Windows Live OneCare Security Service

Microsoft on Wednesday plans to officially release Windows Live OneCare, its automated PC-care service, to help consumers protect and maintain their computers.

"Windows Live OneCare delivers what millions of consumers have been asking for: one source for top-to-bottom maintenance, support, and performance optimization tools plus increased protection that takes the worry out of PC care," said Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates in a statement.

"It's a full PC-care service to keep your PC safe and running well," says Samantha McManus, business strategy manager at Microsoft.

For a suggested price of $49.95 annually, through Best Buy and over a dozen other retailers nationwide, Windows Live OneCare will secure up to three home computers against malicious intruders and inattentive users. According to McManus, OneCare includes free phone, e-mail, and chat support. A beta version of the service launched last November.

Microsoft faces some stiff competition from established security companies. McAfee on Tuesday said it plans to offer a competing service, dubbed "Falcon." In February, Symantec announced its own security service called "Genesis." Both services should be available later this year. Pricing hasn't been disclosed. Trend Micro also plans to offer a security service later this year.

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