You never know what Microsoft will do – it’s a game to them, where we guess and are usually wrong.

The company has decided that it is a good thing for small businesses to have a free antivirus from the halls of Redmond. Many would look at that and say,”So what?” The thing is, there are currently no 64bit solutions that are free, for business or consumer, save for Microsoft Security Essentials.


In an about-face, Microsoft is now planning to offer its free Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) antivirus/antimalware software to small businesses, and not just consumers.

Starting in early October, Microsoft will allow small businesses to install MSE on up to 10 PCs for free. If they need antimalware/antivirus for more than 10 PCs, Microsoft is still pushing them to consider its Forefront line of products.

Offering MSE to small businesses is a change in policy. In May of this year, I had a number of small-business customers and partners asking me whether Microsoft would support them using MSE, since the company’s position had been that MSE was a consumer-only product. Microsoft execs told me no, repeating that “Microsoft Security Essentials continues to be available for consumers and home-based businesses.  The Microsoft Security Essentials OEM Pre-installation Kit (OPK) was made available to OEM partners as a way to offer a pre-installed security solution on home use PCs.”

So, if you can hang until October, you’ll be able to use the MSE on your business PCs (< or = 10 only please!) absolutely free. Though I prefer other antivirus solutions, I have used MSE and know it is a good solution, especially for 64bit Windows.

So thanks, Microsoft, just don’t change your mind on this one too quickly.


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