Microsoft targets Symantec, McAfee

Published: June 19th, 2009

Microsoft is looking to cut into territory dominated by Symantec andMcAfee with the launch of a free anti-virus security program next week.

The beta software, Microsoft Security Essentials, will only beavailable to Windows users in Brazil, Israel and the United States onJune 23, but the company expects to roll out its full version laterthis year. The 140MB download is designed to seek out and destroymalicious software that can turn PCs into spam distribution centres.

Microsoft will continually update identified malware on a dailybasis, but the software will not start to run until the program checkswith Microsoft’s servers and detects a dangerous threat.

The company is focusing on real-time threat detection capabilities,a move that reminds me of Panda Software’s cloud-based approach toanti-virus security, which it launched earlier this year.

Interestingly, Microsoft says it’s not interested in stealingcustomers away from other anti-malware software providers, adding itwas looking to improve to the overall security by reaching out toWindows users who don’t currently use any anti-virus software.

Overall, I think this is a good move for Microsoft and one that willbe quite successful. If it can create a product that works as well aswhat Symantec and McAfee currently offers, the software will be ano-brainer choice for the average Windows PC user.

Also, I don’t buy the argument that Microsoft is not trying to stealcustomers away from the other security players. If it wanted to bringsecurity to more Windows users, it could have easily partnered withSymantec or McAfee and embedded security functionality into Windowsthat way.

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