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March 18, 2006

Microsoft antispyware grist for the antitrust mill?

Posted by David Hunter at 8:05 PM ET.

Joris Evers at CNET plays a dirge for independent antispyware vendors in Spyware-killing Vista could take out rivals. Some of it is due to changes in Vista and Internet Explorer 7, but a lot is due to the free Microsoft Defender offering:

While this may be good news for buyers of Vista, it is not for anyone who makes a living from selling anti-spyware software. The worldwide market has boomed recently, reaching $97 million in revenue in 2004, up 240.4 percent from a year earlier, according to IDC. However, companies such as Webroot Software and Sunbelt Software are in for tough times, analysts said.

“The aftermarket for Windows anti-spyware is going to dry up almost completely,” said Yankee Group analyst Andrew Jaquith. “Windows Defender is going to become the default anti-spyware engine, certainly for most consumers that have Vista machines.”

Gartner’s Pescatore agreed. “Integrating Windows Defender into Windows Vista is sort of the last nail into the standalone anti-spyware coffin,” he said.

Following the link provides some responses from the vendors who are talking a brave story and/or whistling past the graveyard, but I think the big story here is that this seems like prime antitrust regulator bait. We can all frame the argument – “Company with predominant market share buys aftermarket firm, then offers its product for free driving other aftermarket firms out of business.” The best Microsoft defense is likely a claim of quality enhancement for their operating system products, which isn’t too flattering, but may do the trick.

Filed under Antitrust, Defender, Legal, Microsoft, Security, Spyware, Technologies

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2 Responses to “Microsoft antispyware grist for the antitrust mill?”

  1. Predatory pricing of Microsoft’s security products? -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] 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 OS – Client, Windows Vista, Coopetition, Servers, Security, Legal, Technologies, Viruses and Worms, Governmental Relations, General Business, Antitrust, Spyware, Sybari, Antigen, Symantec, McAfee, Windows Live, Defender, Windows Live Family Safety Settings, Microsoft   [Permalink] [...]

  2. Windows Defender goes gold -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] Brandon LeBlanc alerts us to a post on JCXP that reveals that Windows Defender, Microsoft’s spyware killer for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, has left beta and is now generally available. You can download a free copy here. Since Defender is also effectively built into Vista, it looks like you can write off the non-free competition in the spyware detection and removal niche. Paging Neelie Kroes! Filed under OS – Client, Windows XP, Windows Vista, OS – Server, Windows Server 2003, Security, Legal, Technologies, Governmental Relations, General Business, Antitrust, Spyware, Defender, Windows Server 2003 R2, Microsoft [...]

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