At retail stores this week, Microsoft launched a new subscription-based service package called Windows Live OneCare. For $49.95 a year, subscribers gain access to a number of automatically delivered updates, software maintenance and virus protection. The service is available for purchase at Best Buy and a handful of other retail chains, as well as at Microsoft’s web site. A beta version has been available since November 2005.
While live support is part of the package -- a combination of e-mail, phone and chat tech support available at no extra charge -- the service relies primarily on automated features delivered by broadband Internet. It includes includes anti-virus, firewall protection, anti-spyware and what Microsoft calls, “regular PC tuneups to help maintain computer performance and reliability.” The service also features a online-based backup and restore service.
To help promote the new service, Best Buy will display the OneCare product logo on the Best Buy-sponsored No. 66 stock car that is driven by NASCAR’s Jeff Green. -David Dritsas