Amy Barzdukas, senior director of product management for the Online Services and Windows Division at Microsoft, announced that Morro would not directly compete with other commercial AV software; rather it was focused on the 50 to 60 percent of PC users who did not have or would not pay for AV protection.
On 23 June 2009, Microsoft released a public beta to 75,000 users in the United States, Israel, China and Brazil.
Hardware requirements for the product depend on the operating system; on a computer running Windows Vista or Windows 7, it requires a 1 GHz processor, 1 GB of RAM, a computer monitor with a display resolution of at least 800 × 600 pixels, 200 MB of free hard disk space and an Internet connection.
This development marked a change in Microsoft's consumer AV marketing strategy: instead of offering a subscription-based security product with a host of other tools, such as backup and a personal firewall, Morro would offer free AV protection with a smaller impact on system resources.
Microsoft Security Essentials is an antivirus software (AV) product that fights malicious software (malware), including computer viruses, spyware, Trojan horses and rootkits.