CWmike writes "Microsoft is preparing to launch a public beta of Morro, the free anti-malware it announced last November, according to reports. Morro will use the same scanning engine as Windows Live OneCare, the software that the free software will replace and Microsoft's first consumer-grade antivirus package. OneCare is to get the boot as of June 30 (along with finance app Microsoft Money). John Pescatore, an analyst at Gartner, has questioned whether users would step up to Morro even if it was free. 'Consumers are hesitant to pay for a Microsoft security product that will remove problems in other Microsoft products,' he said. 'Think of it this way. What if you smelled a rotten egg odor in your water and the water company said, "Sure, we can remove that, but it will cost you $50." Would you buy it?' Not surprisingly, competitors have dismissed Morro's threat to their business. 'We like our chances,' Todd Gebhart, vice president in charge of McAfee's consumer line, said when it was announced OneCare was a goner. 'Consumers have already rejected OneCare,' added Rowan Trollope, senior vice president of consumer software at Symantec. 'Making that same substandard security technology free won't change that equation.'"