Is Microsoft's Security Essentials the new "universal health care" for Windows? I ask because every time I hear the company talk about its motivation for delivering MSE -- the millions of unprotected PCs being exploited by all manner of malware -- I can't help but draw comparisons to one or more Obama administration policy speeches.
1. Universal health care is often described as a "single payer" system. In other words, the government pays for everything and you do your part by absorbing a hefty tax hike (assuming you pay any taxes to begin with -- many of the people who will benefit from universal health care don't).
Likewise, MSE is a single-payer system in that Microsoft is offering the tool for "free," though you and I will undoubtedly pay for it down the road when the true cost is rolled into future licensing fees and upgrades.
2. It offers a basic level of service. Universal health care isn't about delivering the best possible medicine to a majority of people; it's about delivering inadequate medical care to everyone, including the indigent. And, of course, those with the means to do so can always seek out the exceptional service of the old system through private doctors and clinics -- often in foreign countries (I hear India is a popular choice).
Likewise, MSE provides a basic level of protection. By all accounts, it gets the core functions right -- detecting and quarantining threats -- and even throws in some preventative medicine in the form of thrice-daily checks to the signature repository. And if you feel this level of care is inadequate, you can always shell out for one of the myriad third-party tools.
3. It's targeted at the neediest among us. The faces of the universal health care propaganda are typically the poor, often struggling single parents or recent immigrants (legal or otherwise) -- basically, the people clogging up your local emergency room on the weekends. The pitch is that many of these costly (to the taxpayer; see item 1 above) ER visits could have been prevented had they received regular care from a qualified medical professional.