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Anti-malware Vendors Stare Down Microsoft Threat

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the angry-eyes dept.

207

Captain Rose writes "Matt Hines at eWEEK has stepped up to report the other side of the story CNET inked recently on the perceived death knell that Vista will deliver to independent anti-spyware vendors. There's definitely a fight in store (David v. Goliath), though who knows how long we'll have to wait to see it play out now that Vista's delayed yet again. Is this a bit of foreshadowing on how the new Microsoft OS will address the self-replicating, zero-day spyware threats?" From the article: "Most industry watchers concede that it will be hard for Microsoft to easily displace the enterprise security businesses of leading vendors such as Symantec, McAfee and Trend Micro, which market integrated packages of applications to companies wishing to solve long lists of problems. However, for firms that are focused on only one of those problem areas, analysts said, Vista and the other Microsoft security products could pose a significant threat."

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Don't worry! (0)

VincenzoRomano (881055) | more than 8 years ago | (#15028671)

Don't worry about that!
They told the same about anti virus, web browsers and office suite!
The more MS will try to accentrate, the worse the products! It's history!

Re:Don't worry! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15028759)

Nessun'entrata ha trovato per 'accentrate '.

Forse avete significato cercare 'centralized '?

Re:Don't worry! (5, Insightful)

XMilkProject (935232) | more than 8 years ago | (#15028964)

Don't worry about that! They told the same about anti virus, web browsers and office suite!

Perhaps you should evaluate the logic of your statement?

Microsofts web browser put the competition out of business. (and got themselves in a bit of a legal battle too)

In the 80's and 90's Word Perfect was the defacto standard for an office suite, and Claris Works was popular on the mac. Then microsoft brought out it's office suite, and has all but put the competition out of buisness.

Not sure where you are going with the anti-virus, since Microsoft has never released one. But when they do, I'm pretty confident it'll steal the market share too.

The point i'm trying to make, is that while all of us know that plenty of non-microsoft products are becoming available, and are even better products in many cases, the fact still remains that microsoft obliterated the competition in all of these areas and only the FOSS community is able to gain any traction at all.

You gotta remember that just becuase you and I use FireFox and OpenOffice.org, doesn't change the fact that 99% of computer users are on Internet Explorer and MS Office.

Re:Don't worry! (1)

VincenzoRomano (881055) | more than 8 years ago | (#15029084)

You're right.
But neither Firefox/Opera nor Openoffice (just to mention sw that runs under MS OSes) is dead! And MS is to keep an eye on those 0.01% sw not to loose too much!

Re:Don't worry! (3, Interesting)

fireman sam (662213) | more than 8 years ago | (#15029154)

Microsoft has gotten away with the browser bundling because it was a first offence.

I have word that the bigger players in the anti virus/malware markets have preempted Microsoft and are already being advised by relevant legal departments. They (the AV/M companies) cannot do anything unless Microsoft bundles competing software. But as soon as they do, you can be assured that if there is any drop in revenue seen by the AV/M companies, Microsoft will find itself in court again. Next time it will not be a first offence.

Re:Don't worry! (1)

XMilkProject (935232) | more than 8 years ago | (#15029293)

I expect that you are right about them ending up in court, but why on earth would this not be legal?

You can't add components to your software product becuase someone else already sells those components and stands to lose money? I don't get it... What is the legal precedent here?

Re:Don't worry! (2, Interesting)

fireman sam (662213) | more than 8 years ago | (#15029414)

It isn't illegal if you are not a convicted monopoly. But a company using its dominance in a market to squash competition is considered anticompetitive and a violation of antitrust laws (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antitrust [wikipedia.org] ).

If Microsoft want to get into the antivirus/antimalware market, they are free to develop (or purchase) a product, market it and sell it. They just cannot bundle it with Windows as this would be seen as an attempt to squash the existing companies (who compete on product price, quality, etc) out of the market.

Re:Don't worry! (2, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 8 years ago | (#15029565)

Microsoft has gotten away with the browser bundling because it was a first offence.

I have word that the bigger players in the anti virus/malware markets have preempted Microsoft and are already being advised by relevant legal departments. They (the AV/M companies) cannot do anything unless Microsoft bundles competing software. But as soon as they do, you can be assured that if there is any drop in revenue seen by the AV/M companies, Microsoft will find itself in court again. Next time it will not be a first offence.

And, because the DOJ actively stopped caring about the whole anti-trust issue and left it alone. This is because they were told by the administration they weren't interested in the case.

Someone better hope they have awful deep pockets -- if M$ takes away your revenue stream, and can make it takes years to go through court, and if the DOJ isn't strongly motivated to do something, those companies will be out of business long before they resolve anything.

Microsoft has taken away a lot of people's candy by doing such things and just out-waiting them. If the government is not going to intervene, it will happen again quite easily.

Re:Don't worry! (3, Insightful)

MBCook (132727) | more than 8 years ago | (#15029318)

I have to wonder at what point will people stop and think to themselves "MS made this buggy OS that needs anti-virus software and anti-spyware software, so why am I trusting them by buying their anti-whatever software?"

That will hit some people. Not everyone, many not most, but some. Maybe then a bigger backlash will start. It will probably depend on if the anti-whatever software is free or not.

You've got to love the oddity of it all though. What if tomorrow Oracle released a version of their software that would randomly drop tables? Let's say for the sake of argument that everyone used it anyway. What if Oracle's solution was to sell you software that would catch that happening and instantly put your table back?

What if your Ford car would randomly stall, and Ford's solution was to give you a anti-stall upgrade on your car?

I hope Vista fixes a lot of this (I'm on OS X so it doesn't matter), because it is just mind-bending if you think about it.In what other industry (other than possibly government) would this kind of thing be accepted so well?

Re:Don't worry! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15029335)

Exactly, there was a free online virus/malware scanner I was using, and then I read it got purchased from Microsoft. Used the software for another month or so...no longer free, had to pay for the service. And it was a damn good scanner, it would find viruses/malware that Norton and the likes didnt even detect.

Re:Don't worry! (2, Interesting)

courtarro (786894) | more than 8 years ago | (#15029404)

"In the 80's and 90's Word Perfect was the defacto standard for an office suite, and Claris Works was popular on the mac. Then microsoft brought out it's office suite, and has all but put the competition out of buisness."

This fact doesn't support your argument concerning bundling because these products are not necessarily included in Windows. Rather, the fact that Office became the standard is either due to a) improved quality over the competition, or b) improved marketing over the competition, neither of which is illegal. When you buy a stock computer from a company like Dell, they most often include WordPerfect by default, and you have to pay an extra $NNN to have Office included instead. People must make an active decision to pay extra for the product, so if they have it, they must feel that it's worth it. If Corel is losing money as a result of people making this decision, it's their own fault, one way or another.

The strange thing about this article is that it makes MS out to be the bad guys. Viruses and spyware feed on weaknesses in the OS, therefore so do anti-virus and anti-spyware products. When Microsoft improves the security of their OS and therefore hurts the businesses that leeched on those holes, are they really the bad guys? All MS does is improve the experience built into the operating system. How is it their fault to make an operating system that fixes itself, even if the "fixing" is done by a part of the system that happens to be called "MS Antivirus" or "MS Antispyware"?

Re:Don't worry! (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 8 years ago | (#15029473)

You gotta remember that just becuase you and I use FireFox and OpenOffice.org, doesn't change the fact that 99% of computer users are on Internet Explorer and MS Office.

You're painting a rather bleak picture here. I don't know about OO.o, but Firefox is widely credited with having at least 10% marketshare, and some websites are reporting now that over half their visitors are using Firefox (most on Windows). These aren't even websites you'd expect to have an audience of mostly OSS supporters, so it shows that Firefox is rapidly becoming very popular among general Windows users.

Re:Don't worry! (1, Insightful)

gartogg (317481) | more than 8 years ago | (#15029519)

Just to be a bit of a contrarian (and ridicule others for their lack of ridiculously trivial knowledge,)

Anyone remember MSAV.exe? They never updated it, and let it die when they moved to windows 95. Kind of like when they let IE die after 6.0. Oh, and wqhen's the last time Word had a feature that wasn't wither copying a competitor, or a really stupid idea? (Like animated helpers.) What was new wasn't useful, and what was useful wasn't new...

So we'll actually say you're wrong on 2 counts - they can compete, but don't innovate or create good products - if they do what they did with IE, we'll have more bugs and viruses infecting the antivirus software than we did in the entire OS until now.

And, to paraphrase, MS Word isn't evil, it's just crappy, bloated sofware

Well, there was MSAV... (1)

SimoM (30771) | more than 8 years ago | (#15029553)

Not sure where you are going with the anti-virus, since Microsoft has never released one.

They have. There was a utility called MSAV [wikipedia.org] in MS-DOS 6.

Re:Don't worry! (1)

mjm1231 (751545) | more than 8 years ago | (#15029598)

"Not sure where you are going with the anti-virus, since Microsoft has never released one."

You forgot about MSAV [wikipedia.org] ?

What? (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15028678)

If Microsoft did its job correctly they wouldn't need anti-virus and anti-trojans protection in the first place...

They need not worry (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15028688)

If Microsoft stays true to form, their security tools will be full of security holes. They might even spawn a second tier industry similar to the anti-virus/worm/etc industry.

Re:They need not worry (2, Funny)

tktk (540564) | more than 8 years ago | (#15029125)

I think you've just described a user's worse nightmare.

An OS with security holes protected by a security tool that has security holes. So malware writers will attack the security holes of the security tool to attack the security holes in the OS.

You'll have to download updates to close the security holes in the security tool used to attack the security holes in the OS. Then you'll have to download updates for the security tool to close the security holes in the OS.

Ow...I think I brained my hurt.

Re:They need not worry (1)

noewun (591275) | more than 8 years ago | (#15029429)

It's obvious: MS will then release a security tool which patches the holes in the security tool so that you can download the update to patch the security hole in the OS. Once the OS is updated, you can download the patch for the Security Tool Security Tool Security Hole which will allow you to securely patch the security holes in the OS.

Briefly:

1) Release OS

2) Find security hole

3) Release Security Tool

4) Find security hole

5) Release Security tool patch

6) Infinite Recursion

7) Profit!

Re:They need not worry (1)

pilgrim23 (716938) | more than 8 years ago | (#15029133)

Since Microsoft created the problem, would they not be in the best position to fix it? Oh these holes in the opsys are there by ACCIDENT?? Oops! My bad!

Re:They need not worry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15029430)

" Since Microsoft created the problem, would they not be in the best position to fix it? "

Yes they should!!! Which is what leaves many wondering why they don't fix it instead of trying to sell another product/service to cover off the deficiencies in the first one they sold you.

Write better malware (0, Flamebait)

willardj (473360) | more than 8 years ago | (#15028693)

These vendors are just going to have to start writing their own malware that only their software can detect and fix.

Re:Write better malware (0, Flamebait)

firl (907479) | more than 8 years ago | (#15028730)

Going to have to START writing malware? We all know that 90% of the annoying viruses that don't do damage are created via norton/symantec etc etc.... cmmon seriously you think people write viruses for any other purpose?

Re:Write better malware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15028795)

90% is way off. It's closer to 5%.

Re:Write better malware (4, Funny)

BSDFreak (579789) | more than 8 years ago | (#15028810)

You mean they don't already do that?

There will still be a market (3, Interesting)

kimvette (919543) | more than 8 years ago | (#15028694)

if history serves as an indicator of future performance. I'm sure that Microsoft will stick to the first Tuesday of every month (or whenever it is) to release signature updates, security patches, etc., which will give third-party vendors the upper hand - or worst case should Microsoft totally blow it, potentially drive up the market share for OS/X and Linux migrations.

Re:There will still be a market (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15028903)

actually for their current Windows Defender beta 2 they release updates farily often, not just on tuesdays.

Won't the need always exist? (3, Interesting)

Tominva1045 (587712) | more than 8 years ago | (#15028696)



As long as the OS permits users to turn down or turn off security measures- experienced users in order to do something they deem useful and noobs for just not knowing any better- followed by forgetting to turn them back on/up and then surfing to some-malicious-site.com or opening some-malicious-email then the liklihood of an unwanted installl/download > 0 yes?

Sounds like we will always need utilities to help out.

As technology evolves, so will the malware.

Compare this topic to that of graphics- in the beginning there was the .BMP. And Microsoft gave us the Paint program. But images evolved into other formats and movies. And that necessitated all kinds of cool graphics software-- needs not even Microsoft itself could fully imagine or fulfill.

There will always be a market for some next-big-thing.. :-)

Jeez... (5, Insightful)

Geldon (444090) | more than 8 years ago | (#15028697)

First M$ creates an entire industry focused around fixing holes in their OS. Now they are threatening to fix their own holes and that industry is mad at them?

It seems to me this is like horses being mad at cars for making them obsolete.

However, I am yet to be convinced that Vista will not require third party anti-malware support.

Re:Jeez... (2, Insightful)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 8 years ago | (#15028934)

First M$ creates an entire industry focused around fixing holes in their OS. Now they are threatening to fix their own holes and that industry is mad at them? It seems to me this is like horses being mad at cars for making them obsolete.

No, they created a market for mitigating the effects of the holes in their OS. Now they are not fixing the holes, but entering the market for mitigating the effects of those holes by illegally leveraging their existing monopoly. Let me be clear on this. Bundled or not there is no legal way for MS to enter the "Windows hole mitigation" market. They can fix their OS so it does not have holes, but they can't illegally enter a market by bundling with their monopoly and they can't enter the market separately, because then they are leveraging the holes they have left in the monopoly to double-dip on customers. Both are illegal.

Re:Jeez... (1)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 8 years ago | (#15029090)

This is insightful? "It's illegal!". Bullshit. A web browser is far more afield for them than OS stability/security tools, and they ended up having no legal issues due to IE - it's still in the OS. You're simply retarded, there will be and can be no legal challenge to this, and if anyone brings one they will lose, badly. And you seem to forget monopoly laws (which are ridiculous when applied to intellectual property, but thats beside the point) are intended to protect consumers, not businesses. You're going to have an uphill battle convincing anyone that this hurts consumers now, or in the future.

Re:Jeez... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15029279)

Trademark laws protect consumers. This is not a trademark issue. The issue is the fact that MS could bundle their anti-everything tools into the OS. Other companies that sell those goods would suddenly find themselves with sharply decreasing sales.

However, MS could sell those tools at a competitive price separately. The tools could essentially exist with the OS and lie dormant until the consumer pays to "unlock" them. That "could" happen.

MS would only be considered a monopoly if they crushed everyone else out of the market by bundling them for free and then started charging whatever price they wanted after the coast is clear. This is basically what they like to do.

Re:Jeez... (1)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 8 years ago | (#15029329)

They can fix their OS so it does not have holes, but they can't illegally enter a market by bundling with their monopoly and they can't enter the market separately, because then they are leveraging the holes they have left in the monopoly to double-dip on customers. Both are illegal.

MS could argue that with Windows Defender they are creating a proactive way to deal with undiscovered holes. No developer is psychic; they can't see every problem up front. Example: http://www.debian.org/security/2006/ [debian.org] Oh no Debian has vulnerabilities!

MS has learned that there is no one answer to security holes. They released Firewall with SP2 to take care of a wide number of security threats rather than wait for every hole to be found and patched. There are still plenty of software firewall products on the market that are better than WFW for any number of reasons. That's what will keep the market open: WD will work, but others will work better.

No OS is free of holes. Windows controls market share, so holes are more likely to be exploited. They also are trying to make a simple, easy-to-use OS, which tends to be more vulnerable. My Linux box is a lot more secure than my Windows box (or so I'm told, neither has had an intrusion since being set up), but to gain that security I have to sacrifice things like the ability to install a software package in one step.

Hell, I'm four levels deep in dependency hell trying to get something to compile and I've got at least one more package to download tonight in hopes that it'll work. That never happens with Windows; at worst I've had to installed Java or GTK so that something ported from Linux would work.

Put me out of business (2, Interesting)

Charles Dodgeson (248492) | more than 8 years ago | (#15028962)

First M$ creates an entire industry focused around fixing holes in their OS. Now they are threatening to fix their own holes and that industry is mad at them?
That's my feeling about it. A substantial portion of my earnings comes from coping with a problem that shouldn't exist. (I help small and medium sized businesses cope with spam.) If some development makes the spam problem go away, that will be bad for my business. I knew that when I started working in the business. And I'm not any brighter than the people who went into the anti-malware business.

Overall, I would like to be put out of business by a real end to the spam problem.

Re:Put me out of business (1)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 8 years ago | (#15029122)

I used to carry red flags in front of cars.

Man the bottom really fell out of that business!!

Re:Jeez... (1)

EraserMouseMan (847479) | more than 8 years ago | (#15029127)

Darned if you dont. Darned if you do.

I think MS realized many years ago that they are the official definition of this phrase.

Bundling? (1)

TheBogie (941620) | more than 8 years ago | (#15028707)

Could adding anti-virus type software to the OS be considered bundling?

Isn't MS in big trouble with the EU now for this same type of thing?

No. (4, Interesting)

Flying pig (925874) | more than 8 years ago | (#15028963)

Building security into an operating system cannot be bundling, because security is an essential part of OS design (well, for proper Oses it is, anyway.)

However, there is a more interesting issue with things like virus signatures and so on (emerging threats.) IANAL but I do wonder if, assuming that continuous updates are required to identify new forms of phishing, Trojans etc., MS might be required by the EU to open its API so that updates could be bought from different suppliers, on exactly the same basis that you can buy tires and exhausts from sources other than the car maker.

be secure or BE secure? (3, Insightful)

geoff lane (93738) | more than 8 years ago | (#15028708)

If Vista is as secure as we are being told by MS, why would it need anti-virus code from any source?

Re:be secure or BE secure? (2, Insightful)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 8 years ago | (#15028915)

Because no matter how good the code is there is always a way to exploit the weakest link.
That link is usually situated between the keyboard and the chair.

Having a system able to run generic code means no matter how many warnings you give, malicious code will still exist.

Re:be secure or BE secure? (1)

Mancat (831487) | more than 8 years ago | (#15029113)

Because even the tightest user-level security can still let a virus, i.e. any malicious application, destroy the user's data. This even applies to - gasp - Unix. Maybe Vista will provide security measures that successfully protect system files from being infected, but I have no doubt that viruses will continue to ravage user's systems in other ways.

Re:be secure or BE secure? (1)

diegocgteleline.es (653730) | more than 8 years ago | (#15029381)

Because there're "virus" that are just a executable asking "CLICK ME!" and there's no technology on earth which can stop users being stupid?

Just because most of linux and mac os x users are not stupid doesn't mean everybody is smart and antivirus are not needed.

Oh please! (1)

AnonymousPrick (956548) | more than 8 years ago | (#15028710)

Everyone knows that you have to run a couple of different programs to get most of the spyware and adware off your machines. And those who don't know won't be using MS's anyway.

Windows Defender (1)

CaptainPhoton (398343) | more than 8 years ago | (#15028711)

Is the Vista functionality different from Windows Defender? I'm curious if the Microsoft software is already taking market share from the other players...

Check who's buying anti-malware software. (4, Insightful)

rob_squared (821479) | more than 8 years ago | (#15028716)

I'm guessing the biggest buyers of antivirus, firewall, and spyware detecting software will be knowledgeable users and corporations. Even if you're talking about AOL users with their default installs, AOL still had to make a deal with MacAfee.

My guess is that most corporations and users will turn off the bundled anti-whatever, and use what they trust. After all, should you trust the company that created the problem after they sat for years without doing much, to solve the problem?

Re:Check who's buying anti-malware software. (1)

MacDork (560499) | more than 8 years ago | (#15028948)

After all, should you trust the company that created the problem after they sat for years without doing much, to solve the problem?

OTOH, should you trust companies that worked with Sony to make a threat to corporate networks invisible?

Re:Check who's buying anti-malware software. (1)

thunderlove (964802) | more than 8 years ago | (#15029214)

Disagreed. My guess is that most corporations will drop MacAfee et al, and stick with what's bundled -- after all, they DO trust Microsoft -- at least enough to still be running Windows. Besides, its 'free', and 'pre-installed'.

I understand M$'s desire to squash these guys (2, Funny)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 8 years ago | (#15028718)

I understand M$'s desire to squash these guys. Every time some server custodian buys another Symantec/Trend/McAfee license, the thought in the back of that custodian's head has to be "I wonder how much less of Symantec/Trend/McAfee's shit I would have to deal with if we didn't have so many M$ platforms running around."

It'll be the same story as always (4, Insightful)

doctor_nation (924358) | more than 8 years ago | (#15028745)

Since everyone will be running MS's anti-spyware program, the spyware folks will concentrate on defeating it, just like virus writers concentrate on beating Windows "security". So there will still be a market for other vendors, since they would hopefully be better at stopping spyware than MS' default option. And since there's lots of them, it's harder to defeat them all. Even now, it's pretty well accepted that you need at least two anti-spyware programs to catch everything.

Re:It'll be the same story as always (1)

kbielefe (606566) | more than 8 years ago | (#15029507)

it's pretty well accepted that you need at least two anti-spyware programs to catch everything.

Is that really true? Do you need to pay for subscriptions to keep them both up to date? If not, how do the companies make money? If they don't make money, why do they care if Microsoft steps up to take care of the problem?

Forgive my ignorance, but I only really used Windows for about a year before throwing in the towel.

Microsoft Antispyware (2, Interesting)

RyanCowardin (961379) | more than 8 years ago | (#15028752)

I can't help but wonder why Microsoft bothered to buy Giant Company [pcworld.com] awhile back for their antispyware product. Guess it explains why they've put zero effort into improving it since they bought it though.

What about AVG Free? (3, Insightful)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#15028763)

leading vendors such as Symantec, McAfee and Trend Micro,

AVG Free [grisoft.com] works quite well and has removed Trojans that Symantec couldn't.

Re:What about AVG Free? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15029522)

What's the deal with ClamAV? I know they're OSS and all that wonderful stuff, but has anyone here used it extensively enough to share valid opinions? I mean I know my Linux box won't get hit with the typical kinds of malware but I might consider adding some virus scanning capabilities to it so I don't unwillingly forward/pass malware on to anyone else.

I've heard it used server-side along with stuff like spam-assassin but anything on the user level?

It's not Microsoft's fault for once (5, Interesting)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 8 years ago | (#15028802)

Anti-virus companies, ironically, are very much like a parasite that only lives on a specific host. When the host disappears (pre-Vista versions of Windows), the parasite dies. Either they get lucky and they find a new host in the form of Vista with security problems, or they diversify in a hurry.

For once, you can't blame Microsoft for ruining an industry, and I can't say I'll feel sad if McAfee or Symantec dies...

Re:It's not Microsoft's fault for once (1)

eclectro (227083) | more than 8 years ago | (#15028946)

Hate to throw water on your hopes of a mass industry die-off, but how do you know that Vista is going to be any more secure than anything else they have ever produced?? Do you know something about Microsofts QA that we don't??

Re:It's not Microsoft's fault for once (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15029026)

but how do you know that Vista is going to be any more secure than anything else they have ever produced??

He doesn't. That's why he never made that claim.

Either they get lucky and they find a new host in the form of Vista with security problems, or they diversify in a hurry.

Re:It's not Microsoft's fault for once (1)

tsm_sf (545316) | more than 8 years ago | (#15029219)

It's more of a mutualistic [wikipedia.org] relationship than parasitic, although I'm sure MS views it as a commensal [wikipedia.org] one.

Re:It's not Microsoft's fault for once (1)

molarmass192 (608071) | more than 8 years ago | (#15029368)

For once, you can't blame Microsoft for ruining an industry, and I can't say I'll feel sad if McAfee or Symantec dies...

I prefer to think of it as if you get into a cage with an 800 pound (and growing) gorilla and a fully grown banana tree, plant your own banana tree, and eat only bananas off your tree, *eventually* that gorilla is going hit 900 punds and decide it's time to rip you into quivering shreds so it can eat your bananas too. It's the price you pay ... and I won't shed a single tear either, I'll just add McAfee and Symantec to Corel, Lotus, Netscape and all the other MS roadkill.

Long way away (1)

VonSkippy (892467) | more than 8 years ago | (#15028816)

Even if all the doom and gloom is true - it's along time off. It's 2006, yet most corporations still have a handful (or more) of W2Kpro workstations. So even if Vista ships later this year, it's not like the anti-malware businesses will go out of business the week after that. There's at least a window of 3-5 years before their market dries up, and that's plenty of time for the malware writers to find a work around to MS or for the anti-malware writers to change their business model.

Re:Long way away (2, Insightful)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 8 years ago | (#15029107)

There's still a significant amount of NT4 out there too, but it's slowly being phased out (still get the occasional person who's IT people haven't certified SP6a yet and they're on SP3! Luckily this is getting rarer... IT moves slow in large companies).

W2k is still in the heart of IT running the domain controllers in many (possibly most) companies... W2k3 is gaining ground but is still not in the majority even 3 years after its release (based on our own marketing surveys, which cover a lot of companies in europe).

Vista isn't even in the planning stages yet. Not heard anyone even mention it or ask for support.

New OSs take time to gain ground in business. We had our first enquiry about Solaris 10 2 weeks ago.. and that was relased, what, about a year ago? That's against several thousand Solaris 9 installs.

Good Riddance (1)

SnailNobra (903090) | more than 8 years ago | (#15028922)

All those products do is bog down computers. Give me a hardened version of Windows that is more resistant to attacks and doesn't require me to run heavy applications to keep my computer clean. Give me that and I'll be happy. Good Riddance to McAfee and Symantec.

Re:Good Riddance (2, Informative)

Jason69 (661789) | more than 8 years ago | (#15029255)

Here you are: Hardened Windows [novell.com]

Re:Good Riddance (1)

SnailNobra (903090) | more than 8 years ago | (#15029545)

Funny. Linux sometimes is just not an option. Currently in my posession are one Debian server, one Ubuntu laptop and one Windows Desktop. If there were applications that I needed available on a linux distribution then I would switch the desktop machine to Linux. Until that time, I will continue to run Windows on the desktop. For that reason, I would like to see a hardened Windows.

As an aside, I have never had a security issue with any windows computer I have ever owned and maintained, this dates back to the very beginning of windows 95. The same follows through to my Linux computers. However, I cannot say the same for other Windows computers that I have had to restore. This can only be a good thing. Windows becoming more secure allows competent computer users (like those of us who prowl slashdot) to get back to doing work instead of fixing everyone else's mistakes.

the road to antitrust (-1, Offtopic)

grikdog (697841) | more than 8 years ago | (#15028927)

November this year: Americans vote against the neo-cons and hand the U.S. Congress to Democrats (both House and Senate), on the grounds that it wasn't broke when the G.O.P. got it and now they can't fix it.

November two years from now: Americans vote against the neo-cons and hand the Presidency of the United States to Jimmy Carter. Hey, he can run again!

January, 2008: The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court reveals that he's a) not gay, b) a closet Democrat, and c) punches "cowboys" in Laramie for fun. Scalia has a heart attack laughing, and Clarence Thomas gropes Ruthie Ginsberg, figuring she'd never notice. (Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. So wrong.) Carter nominates Hillary Clinton for Chief Justice, and the appointment is passed in three hours by acclamation.

Microsoft is up to their widely-spaced ears in antitrust suits by January 25th. Surprise, surprise, surprise, you all.

get rid of spyware? Ha. (3, Insightful)

xx_toran_xx (936474) | more than 8 years ago | (#15028933)

Yeah, sure, they'll get rid of spyware. Just like they got rid of spam.

Frustrating (1)

sinfree (859988) | more than 8 years ago | (#15028995)

It frustrates me that Microsoft wants to charge people for flaws in their own operating system. Typically bug fixes are included with an OS for free, but Microsoft wants us to pay them to keep bad stuff off of our computer, when the OS should inherently do that. *sigh*

Re:Frustrating (1)

Columcille (88542) | more than 8 years ago | (#15029312)

Where are they asking for payment? Updates to the OS are free, and at least for now Windows Defender is also free. It's possible it will be a for-sale product in the future, but I haven't heard anything indicating that.

Gambling that VISTA is as insecure as ... (1)

Jerry (6400) | more than 8 years ago | (#15029006)

XP and its predecessors.

From early reports the odds are that they are right. Now they won't have to manufacture phoney Linux bugs in their lab in a vain attempt to generate revenue from Linux users.

I already have anti-malware from Microsoft (2, Funny)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 8 years ago | (#15029007)

format.com

Re:I already have anti-malware from Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15029449)

LOL! If you actually go there, click on Richard. It takes you to malware.org. Sarah takes you to badguys.org. I always knew those three were somehow realted.... You sir desreve a +5 informative!:)

So... (2, Interesting)

steveo777 (183629) | more than 8 years ago | (#15029011)

Microsoft plans on counteracting McAffee, Symantec, and Trend Micro's speed crippling services with their own? Honestly. There are MUCH better tools out there that corporations could be using. Try using a Novell firewall in front of all your Windows boxes. Then subscribe to a good blocklist so your employees can't get to sights that are likely to be infected (employees will rarely, if ever, need access to warez, porn, or blogging sites).

The big names in anti-virus are just eating resources. Without them we wouldn't be upgrading our computers quite as often. I work on a 2000 box at work with only 256MB of RAM. It normally runs fast enough, but once there was a decision by scared execs Symantec was installed. Now I'm hitting the VRAM like a drunk hits the dollar tapps at happy hour.

dump windows (0, Troll)

wardk (3037) | more than 8 years ago | (#15029022)

I would love to see ALL anti-virus vendors STOP supporting Windows.

Let MS handle it all on their own.

Windows users would be SCREWED ....more screwed that is

Re:dump windows (1)

Machina Fortuno (963320) | more than 8 years ago | (#15029160)

Yeah... and in an attempt to kill Windows all those anti-virus companies would DIE!

Windows is their bread and butter, they rely on it being unreliable

MS has enough money to outlast all of those companies

They would just make their own anti-virus in the mean time

Then you have bunches of dead anti-virus companies, and MS still won! Haha!

Re:dump windows (1)

colinrichardday (768814) | more than 8 years ago | (#15029184)

And what would they support? OpenBSD?

Hmm... (2, Interesting)

tktk (540564) | more than 8 years ago | (#15029027)

Collectively, all other anti-malware vendors should just delay support for Vista. Let Microsoft handle all the anti-malware for a while.

Then when Microsoft is overloaded with attacks, the vendors should return with their new versions. They'll be greeted as saviors.

Not sure what the hype is here... (1)

kainewynd2 (821530) | more than 8 years ago | (#15029048)

Microsoft's Anti-Spyware package (Windows Defender) is really a nice base for anti-spyware movements, but it will never be enough. Once you start relying on a single point for all of your defense stuff is bound to start targetting that. I mean within a week of the Windows Anti-Spyware Beta being released spyware creators were already targetting it for deletion upon "infection." I do agree that corporations like Symantec and McAfee that offer bloated and underwhelming spyware/malware removal tools are in for a big threat. However, companies like Lavasoft and programs like Spybot will continue to thrive because they offer a diversity of scanning software.

Anti-Spyware/Adware (0, Troll)

erroneus (253617) | more than 8 years ago | (#15029049)

I am Microsoft's enemy. Can't be any more direct than that. Hate the company. Hate their products.

But all other things asside, these anti-malware people built a business from the failings, vulnerabilities and shortcomings of Microsoft technologies. It's a moving target, technically speaking. Furthermore, if my favorite OS or any OS had a kind of "black list" of programs not allowed to run here, then I'm in favor of it. Essentially, that's what the anti-malware is.

I wouldn't consider it to be anti-competitive for Microsoft to shore up their own OS products for a better user experience and/or better security... unless they were charging money for it, and then I consider it more along the lines of extortion. "We don't know WHAT you might be infected with if you don't buy our product."

Re:Anti-Spyware/Adware (2, Informative)

Columcille (88542) | more than 8 years ago | (#15029359)

I wouldn't consider it to be anti-competitive for Microsoft to shore up their own OS products for a better user experience and/or better security... unless they were charging money for it, and then I consider it more along the lines of extortion.

These tools provide protection from attacks against multiple fronts. In part the protection is against malware designed to seek out and exploit holes in the underlying software. But it is also designed to protect users from their own inexperience. The strongest OS will still need protection since it still has people using it. So while I think Microsoft should provide free releases to any updates that directly deal with holes in their products, they still are in their rights to charge for a product that takes the extra step of protecting users from themselves. This is not extortion.

If.... (1)

celardore (844933) | more than 8 years ago | (#15029064)

If you were an established anti-virus, or anti-spyware company, would you honestly be worried?

Sure Microsoft have the funds. However, Microsoft don't even have a track record as far as AV goes, and their anti-spyware offering left much to be desired as far as I read. Never used it myself.

Re:If.... (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 8 years ago | (#15029139)

I for one won't be crying if Norton goes bust. I've had to work around their crapware too often.

Great (1)

Mancat (831487) | more than 8 years ago | (#15029082)

I'm tired of going into offices or homes to clean up Windows machines, and finding one or two (or more) of these "Spyware Cleaners" running in the system tray simultaneously. Most of them don't do jack squat. Half of them even contain spyware.

Good riddance. I'm really looking forward to Vista.

An Industry Threatened? (1)

mabu (178417) | more than 8 years ago | (#15029096)

Microsoft has put thousands, perhaps tens-of-thousands of software companies out of business in the last two decades. As much as they do have a track record of destroying competition in various segments, somehow, I just don't see "computer security" being one of them.

Threat? Well... (1)

FridayBob (619244) | more than 8 years ago | (#15029108)

...for firms that are focused on only one of those problem areas, analysts said, Vista and the other Microsoft security products could pose a significant threat.
Perhaps, but experience tells me that it will probably be a long time before most businesses upgrade to Vista. Why, even after five years, there are still many that haven't yet upgraded to Windows XP.

Actually, the worst thing that could happen to the anti-mailware vendors is if companies end up rejecting Vista and move to *nix platforms instead.

Do you want security or not? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15029111)

Linux Fanboy: See how insecure Microsoft is. How could any REAL OS allow malware to be installed so easily? They should really beef up security so this doesn't happen, or stop producing Windows and let Linux take their market share. LINUX ROCKS!!!

Microsoft: You are correct. In the next version on Windows we will be focusing more on security, and we will not allow malware to be so easily installed, and for the stuff that does get installed, we will also provide you a way to remove it and save you money from having to buy another product.

Linux Fanboy: See!!! Microsoft is a monopoly! They are improving security of their product, and as a result these companies that produce anti-malware software will be suffering! Microsoft is crippling the software industry! This would never happen with Linux!

Self replicating ... (1)

jamesl (106902) | more than 8 years ago | (#15029116)

What exactly is a "self-replicating zero-day spyware threat?"

Re:Self replicating ... (3, Funny)

mabu (178417) | more than 8 years ago | (#15029192)

My guess is a "journalist"

Dissenting a bit here... (1)

vudufixit (581911) | more than 8 years ago | (#15029121)

1. The defender product integrated into Vista is based on Giant's antispyware product, which I recognized upon learning about it as an excellent anti-spyware product. I remove a lot of spyware and adware from clients' PCs and it's been a valuable tool in my arsenal. 2. That having been said, I also recognize that no product catches every last bit of malware out there. That's why in addition to Defender, I also use Spybot, AdAware, HiJack This and occasionally Ewido. I also check the usual suspect places such as c:\windows\system32 and the various temp directories and clean those out. I really don't see how the inclusion of Defender is going to make people stop using the "multipronged" anti-malware approach.

Like the Firewall (1)

nobodynoone (940116) | more than 8 years ago | (#15029130)

If MS does this thing right and prevents gaping holes and security breaches, has reasonably fast definition updates, and sets and affordable price, there may be reason to fear on the part of the Anti-Malware vendors.


Therefore, it logically follows that there is no reason to fear on the part of the Anti-Malware vendors.

oh, cry me a river (2, Insightful)

b17bmbr (608864) | more than 8 years ago | (#15029148)

we're supposed to feel sorry for companies that hooked their wagon to an unsecure ship? their buisness model is dependent upon MS writing bad software. well, not that that's a bad gamble, but...

maybe it's about time MS writes more secure software. besides, given the hardware req's for vista, there'll be millions who sill still run xp/me/98 for the forseeable future.

Who Watches The Watchers? (2, Interesting)

mabu (178417) | more than 8 years ago | (#15029180)

If there's an issue over whether Vista will put the big antivirus companies out of business, I don't see it as consequential. IMO, the software companies themselves will be responsible for their own demise, regardless of whether Microsoft enters the market. Programs like Norton Utilities used to be valuable, but now these once-critical utilities have morphed into bloaded virus-like software incarnations that are best not installed in the first place.

Furthermore, both McAffee [cert.org] and Symantec [zdnet.com.au] products have been hosts to numerous flaws, security holes and vulnerabilities themselves.

If Microsoft wanted to do it right, they could merely have Vista identify both programs as "malware" right off the bat, remove them from the system, and most users would be better off.

Isn't This Monopoly Power Abuse? (2, Interesting)

john.mull (790526) | more than 8 years ago | (#15029230)

Isn't Microsoft using its monopoly power to (Windows platform) to introduce a new product that competes with existing products? Anti-virus companies are already making products to handle security, then Microsoft includes that functionality in the OS itself.

This is quite similar to the inclusion of Internet Explorer. And OS level disk defragmentation (remember PC Tools anyone?).

Now if Microsoft were to include preventatives/prophylactics in the OS, that's one thing, but including AV software, even if integrated into the OS, seems to be stretching things a bit.

Of course, this is the company that said it was cheaper to break the law and fight it in court than it was to follow the law.

Hmmmm... 1 thing missed (1)

Machina Fortuno (963320) | more than 8 years ago | (#15029235)

Many of you keep talking about how these companies are parasites or whatever for basing themselves off of MS's errors. Well... sorta

They didn't so much base it off of a faulty OS, but the internal paranoia of consumers. To beat them, MS will have to defeat that before the actual bugs. Not to say that it isn't warranted, but the point being... While these companies may take a big hit, they will not die off. The one thing about parasites is... they can be very adaptive. These companies will live off of people who were pleased with their software the first time around, purchasing it again. That, and contract agreements with coprorations anyways. Also... Vista will still have its own problems. I don't think people will ever trust something to self-clean, people feel good about buying a utility...

Assuming MS delivers vista (1)

MECC (8478) | more than 8 years ago | (#15029302)


Remember that longhorn(now scrapped) was MS's first attempt at an OS since DOS. They hired a team from digital to produce the NT/2k/XP codebase and OS architecture, and gave that group a significant degree of insulation from the MS management structure, including billg. MS is very likely going to have to do the same thing again to deliver Vista in any decent form, or whatever it will be called by then. After all, if they scrapped longhorn, whose to say they won't have to scrap vista.

Interesting article (1)

Eric Damron (553630) | more than 8 years ago | (#15029374)

Well an interesting read even if I don't agree with some of the opinions expressed:

"Other security vendors are taking a similar approach. Steve Orenberg, president of anti-virus specialists Kaspersky Labs, in Woburn, Mass., said that for every problem Microsoft addresses with Vista and its other security products, there are likely to be new issues that will demand attention from companies such as his.

Vista might do a good job of blocking the types of spam e-mail that people have been deluged by over the last several years, Orenberg said, but the rapid maturation of viruses and other threats will require more attention than Microsoft is capable of giving them."

What makes Steve think that Microsoft, a company with billions of dollars in the bank, will be unable to afford to hire all the people needed to give the problem adequate attention?

Microsoft has in the past been incapable of securing its software but that's a different topic; closely related perhaps but different.

If I know Microsoft they smell money and they'll be bundling some sort of "protection software" in with Vista. A lite version just to get people going on their products perhaps? Once they leverage their monopoly OS to extend their business into a different area it'll be game over for companies like McAfee and other vendors selling similar services.

much like the "I'm with the Gov I'm here to help" (1)

atarione (601740) | more than 8 years ago | (#15029467)

classic line..


I mean realistically the reason we have all these 3rd party tools is because of the rather piss poor job m$ did on security to start with.

i could be suprised i guess.... but it's all hype till it ships.

What Threat? (1)

Buzz_Ki!! (698179) | more than 8 years ago | (#15029530)

As a person that manages several hundred systems in an enterprise, I am very aware of the what does and does not work on our company's computers. In almost every case, NONE of the large commercial offerings for spyware/malware work for SH**. And typically, it takes more than one product to do a throrough cleaning. In nearly every product "shoot-out" I have ever read the freebie or independent software is as good as, or outperforms, the major players. MS does an okay job, but still misses the mark on a lot of "infections". Why? The flaw is leaving the definition of spyware up to a company like Microsoft, or Symantec, etc. Their own business practices, marketing agreements, licensing, and distribution methods are suspect to begin with. It would be the pot calling the kettle black. It is only from independent 3rd party developers that we can expect detection and removal of *everything* that you and I would consider spyware.

Actually, this will HELP the independent vendors. (1)

johnthorensen (539527) | more than 8 years ago | (#15029549)

If they play their marketing cards right, this could really be a boon for the independent anti-malware guys.

There is a definite trait in the human personality that feels that a bone-stock mechanism isn't good enough. Evidence the number of after-market mufflers, 3rd party ringtones, Windows defragmentation utilities, et cetera that are sold every single day.

By making anti-malware 'standard', Microsoft is actually enlarging the population of people interested in the product. As it stands now, there are a lot of people who still feel anti-malware is optional or haven't even a concept of what it is. Once it's standard in the OS, it not only won't be optional but there will be a huge market of people exposed to anti-malware that haven't been. And guess what? A goodly portion can be convinced that MS's offering isn't good-enough, and why don't you 'upgrade' to the Norton Super-Whiz Bang Mega Suite while you're at it?

This is a big win for the 3rd party developers if they manage the opportunity correctly.

-JT

Extremely similar to insurgency... (1)

ursabear (818651) | more than 8 years ago | (#15029550)

The anti-malware/anti-spyware/anti-virus/anti-badstuff war is extremely similar to insurgencies against governments (even historically, not just now).

There are two aspects to this situation:
1) How can these companies staunch the ever-widening, ever-innovative flow of assaults on the Internet?
2) What will Microsoft's product do to the businesses who make much of their living from anti-badstuff software?

For the first item, one can only hope to lessen the impact and severity of assaults. One cannot hope that massive counter-counter assaults and all-comprehensive-in-one approaches will work - as they do not when used against governmental insurgents. The more flailing and posturing on the part of the defender, the harder the black hats fight back. It (IMHO) is better to do your best, stay on top of things, and keep the users/public educated and intelligent about their computer use.

For the second item, It is my sincere hope that Vista (or whatever it becomes) will not stamp out the small-and-medium size after-marketeers. Innovation is often fueled by people who are not working in a cubicle box for a giant company - but by a small- or medium-sized company that has its focus razor sharp.
A similar thing was that IE did crush most competition for browsers for many years (and is still a huge installed base), but other companies and browsers have slowly crept back - perhaps because the shiny ball got dropped at Goliath's shop and picked up by an interested David's shop. I get the feeling that the anti-badstuff software market will probably cycle in a very similar fashion.

Security focus (2, Insightful)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 8 years ago | (#15029576)

Most industry watchers concede that it will be hard for Microsoft to easily displace the enterprise security businesses of leading vendors such as Symantec, McAfee and Trend Micro

Mainly because many businesses will start asking the uncomfortable question about why they have to pay for an insecure software product then pay more for security software. I realize many companies are doing it now, but when the checks are going to different companies one can pretend you're buying network security. When both checks go to the same company it becomes glaringly apparent that you're paying for something many companies think should be included in the price.

I realize it must seem strange but I really think this will do more to highlight MSFT's insecurity than boost revenue. Because it's sort of like rubbing a customer's nose in the fact that the product they're buying is basically not secure. I'm guessing MSFT will end up bundling the package at a price not far above where they are now, especially for big buyers. The little people will, of course, get the corporate shaft but most of them are used to it by now anyway. After the XP Activation Follies paying for security updates won't seem like much of a big deal.

Not seeing a win here.

What a rediculous argument (1)

Sathias (884801) | more than 8 years ago | (#15029596)

The next time I have to clean a nasty piece of spyware off one of my non-geek friends computers, I will thank my lucky stars that we have these third-party "security" companies to discourage Microsoft from writing a secure OS.
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