MS AntiSpyware set for enterprise functionality

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Microsoft could build enterprise functionality into its nascent anti-spyware software as early as the second half of this year.

Even if that functionality isn't ready for the second beta due in July, the company is committed to developing Microsoft AntiSpyware for businesses as well as consumers.

McAfee insists it is not worried by this sort of encroachment on to its turf – it upgraded its own anti-spyware offering for enterprises in January. "Many businesses will feel like Microsoft is the fox watching the chicken coop," said John Bedrick, group marketing manager for McAfee System Solutions. "Should they trust Microsoft to solve the very problems for which many of these businesses hold Microsoft accountable?"

McAfee believes medium-sized and larger businesses will not implement the Microsoft solution in isolation. "It might be part of their overall anti-spyware solution, but it would not be the only solution that they would incorporate," said Bedrick.

The arrival, though, of Microsoft into the anti-spyware arena generated plenty of interest. There were around three million downloads from the company's website in the first two weeks of the beta's release.

Microsoft acquired the software via the December 2004 purchase of Giant Company Software, for an undisclosed amount. The takeover was in response to the fact that an estimated 80 percent of PCs are infected by spyware and other potentially malicious software such as keyloggers and dialers.

"We feel customers are looking to Microsoft for a response," said Gytis Barzdukas, Microsoft's director of product management, security and technology.

The company made a beta available to gauge reaction to the product in quick order after the purchase. Mechanisms are in place to measure feedback from focus groups and participants of the company's beta program.

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