Microsoft OneCare will be with us by June, the company finally announced this week. US customers will pay $49.50 for a year’s subscription to the service, though that includes a range of security elements such as a firewall and anti-spyware and not just traditional anti-virus.

This price is pretty much in line with what established consumer security companies charge for similar products, though it looks as if Microsoft might be about to do a better job of integrating the confusing array of different security elements into a single product.

McAfee, Symantec and others in this coy market are said to be concerned, and well they should be. They have taken the consumer market for granted, and raked in easy subscriptions year after year, and from now on they will have to work that bit harder.

The Microsoft deal also has the innovative feature of covering three PCs – rivals still assume one per PC though not many subscriptions based on online updates actually check. It is not clear whether this service will be rolled out to small businesses further up the scale, but one assumes that it will be.

There is one glitch, which Microsoft has been upfront about since the OneCare products entered beta. Users out side the US will not be able to sign up from day one, and will have to wait until 2007 most likely by which time Vista will be upon us.

So the anti-virus giants have another year to work out how they will respond outside the US at least.