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September 29, 2006

Microsoft beta roundup – Forefront for SharePoint and more

Posted by David Hunter at 10:56 AM ET.

Some new Microsoft betas this week (so far):

Microsoft Launches Forefront Security for SharePoint Beta

Microsoft Corp. today (Sept. 28) is launching the public beta of Forefront Security for SharePoint® ( This latest release of Microsoft® Forefront security products for businesses is based on Antigen for SharePoint Server, the multi-engine security solution acquired by Microsoft as part of the acquisition of Sybari Software Inc. in 2005.

Forefront Security for SharePoint is optimized to provide advanced protection for Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 and Windows® SharePoint Services 3.0. Microsoft SharePoint Products and Technologies facilitate easy collaboration across an organization, connecting people, processes and systems within and beyond organizational boundaries. Forefront Security for SharePoint uses the combined power of multiple antivirus engines from leading security providers to protect against viruses, unwanted files and inappropriate content.

While we’re on the subject, Microsoft was also touting Gartner’s glowing assessment of their email security offerings including including Microsoft Exchange Hosted Services and Forefront Security for Exchange Server.

Windows Mobile Device Center Beta Coming Soon
. It’s the replacement in Vista of ActiveSynch for synching up mobile devices with a Vista machine. It was AWOL in Vista RC1.

Windows PowerShell Release Candidate 2 was released. The scripting tool (codenamed “Monad”) for system administration tasks is expected to ship in the 4th quarter and/or embedded in Exchange 2007 when it ships.

The Windows Live Writer blogging tool beta got an update which fixed a number of problems in the original beta released in August.

Windows Live Expo started a limited beta in the UK.

Microsoft Releases First Broad Beta Developer Kit for .NET Micro Framework:

Microsoft Corp. today (Sept. 26) released a beta developer kit for the Microsoft® .NET Micro Framework, a new development platform for use with devices that are typically constrained by cost, memory, processor and/or power consumption. Announced at the Embedded Systems Conference in Boston, the .NET Micro Framework broad beta extends the advantages of .NET and the Visual Studio® toolset into a class of the smallest of devices.

The .NET Micro Framework grew out of the Smart Personal Objects Technology (SPOT) initiative at Microsoft.

Here’s an explanation:

The framework currently provides the software platform for all Smart Watches for MSN Direct. Additionally, the company plans to include it in Windows Vista SideShow displays and in an upcoming version of Microsoft TV Foundation Edition, the statements say.

Filed under .NET Micro Framework, Acquisitions, Antigen, Beta and CTP, Exchange, Forefront, Hosted Services, MSN, MSN Direct, Microsoft, Microsoft TV, OS - Client, OS - Server, Office, PowerShell, SPOT, Servers, Service Providers, SharePoint Server, Sybari, Technologies, Windows Live, Windows Live Expo, Windows Live Writer, Windows SharePoint Services, Windows Vista

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June 20, 2006

Predatory pricing of Microsoft’s security products?

Posted by David Hunter at 10:05 PM ET.

Jupiter Research’s Joe Wilcox points to a blog posting by Alex Eckelberry of security software vendor Sunbelt Software that crunches the numbers for Microsoft’s Windows Live OneCare and Antigen enterprise security products and concludes that Microsoft practices predatory pricing:

I don’t often write pieces lambasting Microsoft. I have close friends who work for the company (incidentally, some of the brightest people I know), my company is a Gold Partner and we’re also in business with Microsoft. And, I am one of those who believe that the computing world has actually been made a better place by Microsoft.

My beef is never with the people. My beef is with a number of strategic decisions that have been made by the company that should scare a lot of people. So please, to my friends at Microsoft, don’t take this personally. This stuff just needs to be said.

It’s bad enough that Microsoft is getting in to all aspects of security. But now they are going to kill their competition through predatory pricing.

Hit the link for the calculations, but for Windows Live OneCare, his conclusion is that it is “almost 50% below the market leader, and no one has said a peep.” That seems somewhat overheated since the OneCare MSRP of $49.95 for three machines is easily its most notable aspect and has received quite a bit of comment here and and quite a few other places. It’s also overshadowed by the oddities of the delivery mechanism for consumer security products which generally appear as a trial offers preinstalled on new PCs and based on adoption statistics, seem to be mostly ignored.

More telling is his analysis of the pricing for Microsoft’s Antigen enterprise security products:

Now, let’s move to the enterprise side, specifically virus protection for Microsoft Exchange. Remember that enterprise sales are the bread and butter of companies like Symantec and Trend. This is where the money is made.

Examine the latest pricing for Microsoft Antigen, the old Sybari product re-branded under Microsoft’s new Foreforont line of security products.

As we can see here, Microsoft has priced themselves over 60% less than Symantec, an astonishing difference in price. Microsoft has effectively low-balled the entire antivirus industry in one fell swoop. And their product includes five antivirus engines, not just one.

There’s much more there, but here’s a closing thought:

What should be disturbing about of this all is that we very well might see Microsoft owning a majority in the security space. Despite what their PR flacks tell us, they are hell-bent on getting your business. Look at the Forefront website for yourself. These people mean business. Maybe I’m jaded, as I’ve spent most of my career working for companies that got pummeled by Microsoft (Borland, Quarterdeck, etc.).

Stifling innovation? You bet. What venture capitalist will invest in the next great security idea or product? What entrepreneur will start a new company in the security space, given the risks of competing with Microsoft?

And it’s not just startups. For example, after Microsoft announced the acquisition of Giant Company, a senior executive at a major security company told me that they weren’t going to bother coming out with antispyware functionality, since Microsoft had already made that product free. While that company has since changed their mind, it was a chilling conversation.

As I’ve mentioned before in regards to Windows Defender (antispyware), Windows Live Safety Settings, and application transfer applications, there’s no more predatory pricing than free and I can’t help but believe that Microsoft’s heading for another confrontation with antitrust regulators around the world.

Filed under Antigen, Antitrust, Coopetition, Defender, Forefront, General Business, Governmental Relations, Legal, McAfee, Microsoft, OS - Client, Security, Servers, Spyware, Sybari, Symantec, Technologies, Viruses and Worms, Windows Live, Windows Live OneCare Family Safety, Windows Vista

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October 6, 2005

Microsoft Announces Enterprise Antivirus and Anti-spyware Products

Posted by David Hunter at 11:27 AM ET.

Press release:

Oct. 6, 2005 — Today in Munich, Germany, Steve Ballmer, Microsoft Corp.’s chief executive officer, and Mike Nash, corporate vice president of the Security Technology Unit, outlined Microsoft’s companywide strategy and product road map for helping secure the breadth of its customers from home PC users to businesses of all sizes. As part of its comprehensive security strategy, which focuses on a defense-in-depth approach, Ballmer announced Microsoft’s plans to release Microsoft® Client Protection, a solution to help protect business desktops, laptops and file servers from current and emerging malware threats. In addition, the company announced the creation of the SecureIT Alliance, which will further enable participating security partners to efficiently integrate their solutions with the Microsoft platform to build new security features and products for the benefit of their common customers.

Concerning Microsoft Client Protection:

Microsoft Client Protection will help protect business desktops, laptops and file servers by providing unified protection against emerging threats such as spyware and rootkits, as well as viruses and other traditional attacks.

“We have heard from business customers that they want protection from viruses, spyware and other malware threats with a single solution. Backed by a global research system, Microsoft Client Protection will address this need with one solution that combines proven protection technology with integrated management and reporting capabilities,” Nash said.

An integrated management console puts IT professionals in control of their environment, and prioritized reports and alerts help focus resources on critical issues. Microsoft Client Protection will integrate with existing IT infrastructure, such as Active Directory® and existing software distribution systems, helping to reduce deployment time and maximize value.

The product is currently in development and Microsoft plans to make an early beta of the product available to select customers later this year. Pricing and licensing will be announced at a later date.

There’s also a Q&A.

As for the SecureIT Alliance:

Microsoft today announced the creation of the SecureIT Alliance, a group of industry partners that are working together to develop security solutions for the Microsoft platform. The SecureIT Alliance unites and expands various security and Internet safety partnerships Microsoft currently has with other industry leaders and governments, including the Virus Information Alliance (VIA) and the Global Infrastructure Alliance for Internet Safety (GIAIS), among others.

At the time of the announcement of the SecureIT Alliance, founding members include: Altiris Inc., Aventail Corp., BindView Corp., Centrify Corp., Citrix Systems Inc., Computer Associates International Inc., Configuresoft Inc., e-Security Inc., F5 Networks Inc., Forum Systems Inc., F-Secure Corp., FullArmor Corp., LANDesk Software Ltd., McAfee, Inc., Microsoft Corp., Net Report, NetIQ Corp., Network Intelligence Corp., Panda Software, Ping Identity Corp., Quest Software Inc., RSA Security Inc., Symantec Corp., Trend Micro Inc., Utimaco Safeware AG, VeriSign Inc., Voltage Security Inc., Vormetric Inc. and Websense Inc.

They plan to eventually have a web site at

Finally, (back to the original press release) Microsoft announced Microsoft Antigen:

Today Microsoft also announced plans to release Microsoft Antigen anti-virus and anti-spam security software for messaging and collaboration servers based on the technology from recently acquired Sybari Software Inc. Adding to the defense-in-depth strategy inherent in Microsoft Antigen, Microsoft will add its own anti-virus scan engine. When it is available, customers of the Microsoft Sybari product line will benefit from the addition of the Microsoft anti-virus scan engine at no additional charge throughout the length of their contracts. In addition, Microsoft Antigen for Exchange recently completed Microsoft’s Security Development Lifecycle review process, which has been shown to achieve measurably improved levels of security for numerous Microsoft software solutions. Microsoft Antigen for Exchange is scheduled to be available in beta to customers in the first half of 2006.

Sybari provided a number of enterprise offerings, but Microsoft will not continue the non-Windows part of the original product line.

Filed under Alliances, Antigen, Client Protection, Exchange, Executives, Rootkits, Security, Servers, Spyware, Steve Ballmer, Sybari, Viruses and Worms

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