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With a flick of the switch today, Microsoft will make available its free security suite, Microsoft Security Essentials. The suite, developed under the code name Morro, is the culmination of years of product development and acquired technology integration to transform Microsoft from a platform of security products to a provider of security protection.

MSE is compatible with Windows XP SP2 and SP3, Vista and Windows 7, and provides basic antivirus and anti-rootkit protection. The app is available for download in 19 countries — Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.

MSE is the successor of Windows Defender, an amalgamation of security technologies that Microsoft acquired from Sybari and Giant over the last four years. The client-side application is designed to give consumer users robust antivirus protection without an annual license or support fee. The suite leverages crowd-sourcing intelligences, in which users can share infection and malware information with Microsoft for development of better protections for the greater community.

While MSE is intended for the consumer market, it will undoubtedly make its way into small businesses that currently use commercial-grade applications by vendors such as Symantec, McAfee, Trend Micro and others.

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