Microsoft Pulls the Plug on Windows Live OneCare

by Lynnette Nolan | Nov 20, 2008

Microsoft announced yesterday that they were "throwing in the towel" on their Live OneCare service which included a backup service. According to the web site, "data are continuously protected—automatically backed up on-schedule to a single location I specify."

This announcement comes on the heels of AOL shuttering its xDrive backup service and several smaller competitors biting the dust. Meanwhile Carbonite continues to grow at double-digit month-over-month rates. And we think at least one of our "pure play" competitors is also enjoying substantial growth. So what's going on here?

I think it's a matter of focus. Some vendors seem to think that backing up your PC isn't enough. You ought to throw in anti-virus, firewall, syncing PCs and mobile devices, sharing photos with friends and family, and many other "features." Most of these products seem to be dead or on life support.

Everyone knows they should be backing up their PCs. It's a big and immediate problem. Most of these other features are things that the user already has or are simply a "nice to have" for some subset of users (often younger users who tend to not want to pay for such things). When you have all these other features to sell, it dilutes the important message that you need to be backing up your computer. And because most of them have so many features to support, they don't do a particularly good job at any of them. We're content just to do a spectacularly good job at backup (if I do say so myself). In five years, I believe half the world's PCs will be backing up online. If we want to continue to be number one in this market, we really have to focus and do a better job than anyone else.

I think Microsoft has found that their expertise at writing software does not automatically translate into an ability to run a rock-solid backup service. When we were out raising our first rounds of venture capital a couple of years ago, I was told repeatedly by investors that Microsoft was going to enter this market and crush us. What has been demonstrated time and again is that if you focus on doing one job exceptionally well and if you're motivated to the point where you’re life depends on it, no big corporation can keep you down.

CEO, Carbonite