Symantec is inviting users to sign up for a public beta of its upcoming Genesis security and PC tuning software, which the company has now named Norton 360.

The news comes as security vendors ramped up marketing efforts this week to counter Microsoft's shipping of its Windows Live OneCare security and PC tuning software. Yesterday McAfee said it plans to begin a beta of its next product, code-named Falcon, within weeks.

Click here to download a free trial of Symantec Norton 360 v3.0

Microsoft's entry into the crowded security field is widely viewed as a threat to the market share of traditional security vendors.

Symantec said a public beta test will run through the summer. It hopes to launch Norton 360 by the end of its fiscal year in March 2007.

The product will include antivirus and antispyware capabilities, in addition to antiphishing technology for online transactions and file backup tools.

Norton 360 automatically download online updates, a service approach most vendors are incorporating in their products.