Say That Again

by Mike Masnick

Gates Says Anti-Something Software Offerings Will Come Free

from the gotta-do-something dept

With Microsoft buying up anti-spyware and anti-virus companies left and right over the past few months, many were questioning whether or not they would eventually turn around and sell those products to users who mainly need to use them because Microsoft didn't successfully patch the security holes in their own software. Today, Bill Gates suggested that these products will remain free, assuming, of course, you can prove you have an authorized copy -- which could end up being something of a nuisance. Others in the PC security space are trying to spin the story in a way that doesn't make it sound like Microsoft just deflated their tires, but you have to wonder how those who have recently invested tons of money into the space must feel.

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  • identicon
    TJ, 15 Feb 2005 @ 5:55pm

    Anti-spyware yes but anti-virus?

    As I read the article is says the anti-spyware app will be free. Free isn't mentioned for anti-virus in the next paragraph, and a later reference says pricing hasn't been set.

    I wouldn't be shocked if it is ultimately given away also. However, many key players in the anti-spyware arena are still small change that MS could roll over easily. In the AV arena, Network Associates and Symantec would easily have the resources needed to legally challenge Microsoft just giving away a competing product to their primary source of revenue. Not that that would necessarily stop MS, but surely they have to consider such a move more carefully.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anon, 16 Feb 2005 @ 6:01am

    This isn't a threat to other security companies

    Bill is engaging in Security Theatre. Look who he's purchased:

    (1) The Romanian AV company in 2002 (?) was so small that my Romanian co-workers hadn't heard of it. It was a fourth-tier player with 20 employees. It didn't even have market share outside of Romania. He bought it becuase it was cheap.

    (2) The GIANT anti spyware company (their emphasis, not mine) was not a player in the space either. If he was serious he would have purchased AdAware, Spybot or WebRoot. I had to search to find a comparison between GIANT and a real software package, but I think even that study had been funded by GIANT.

    (3) Sybari doesn't even make an AV engine. They are basically a GUI and reporting company.

    Yes, you could feasably stitch these three products together, but non are anywhere near best of breed, or even in the same league as the top three or four players.

    This is theatre. Bill wants to deflect complaints that his software has holes you can drive a truck through so he'll give you free basic spyware and free basic AV. You get what you pay for. If you want real protection you'll still buy a leader in the field.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike (profile), 16 Feb 2005 @ 7:19am

      Re: This isn't a threat to other security companie


      I wouldn't be so fast in saying that. The Romanian AV company they bought *definitely* was a well known company. My ISP was already using their software at the time, and I knew many others who had it as an option as well. Saying it was unknown is simply wrong. In fact, what was surprising at the time, was that RAV was actually quite popular on Linux based systems, more so than Windows systems, so people were curious why Microsoft bought them. However, the product itself was pretty solid.

      Giant, also, was definitely a player in the space. A few weeks before they had been bought, someone at Broadband Reports had run a comparison, showing that Giant out-performed all of the bigger name players. In this case, Microsoft may not have bought the most well known, but it appears they did buy the most comprehensive product.

      So... they may not have bought the flashiest of names, but in both cases, they were very good products that were known in the field.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 16 Feb 2005 @ 7:38am

        Re: This isn't a threat to other security companie

        I have to agree, especially about Giant. Have you actually used it? I had problems on my work computer that were very sporatic, but was obvious it was spyware related. Spybot and Adaware both found nothing [yes, latest updates all that], run microsofts [giant] anti-spyware app and it found quite a few things that neither of the other products found [in addition to 100% clearing up the sporatic problem i was havign due to as I said before spyware]. I will give nothing but praise for their anti spyware product, as it is very good, and consistently has found things both adaware and spybot don't find.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Darkmoon, 4 Apr 2005 @ 11:39am

          Re: This isn't a threat to other security companie

          well...I see that fairytale is still making the round about the MS product finding things... where other programs didn't. LMAO

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anon, 16 Feb 2005 @ 8:11am


    Yes, I've been involved in anti virus and anti spyware activities for... let's just say a global Fortune 500 company, for many years.

    Neither product is all that good from a corporate point of view.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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