Microsoft Corp will soon enter the anti-virus market as it plans to release its long-anticipated free anti-virus service for PCs that will compete with products sold by Symantec Corp and McAfee Inc.

Microsoft said Wednesday that it's testing an early version of a free anti-virus service for PCs with its own employees now, and expects to make a trial version available via its web site soon.

The company first disclosed plans for a free anti-virus service in November.

The Redmond-Wash., based company said it only include basic features for fighting viruses. This would likely make it comparable to the least-expensive products sold by Symantec and McAfee.

Microsoft was recently up 40cents, or 1.8 percent, to $22.48.

Symantec is down 15 cents, or 0.88 percent to $16.39 and McAfee slipped 68 cents or 1.68 percent, to $39.89.