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.