Microsoft and security software developer Trend Micro this week announced its agreement to provide virus checking on the free Hotmail email service.
From today, Trend Micro will take over from competitor Network Associates to provide realtime scanning and cleaning for 187 million email customers worldwide, including 4.1 million local ninemsn Hotmail users.
Ralph Liu, Trend Micro's vice president, said many consumers are wary of Window's well publicised vulnerabilities and the partnership would contribute to the credibility of both companies.
"This is a good area for Microsoft to show their sincerity -- to care about their customers. They've shown good faith and tried to leverage their partners to provide a good solution, and it means Trend Micro can now get back to the consumer market," Mr Liu said.
The announcement is part of Trend Micro's push for further penetration into the home user market, which in the coming year will include products such as consumer routers with in-built antivirus software.
"ninemsn is focused on providing a safer online experience for our Australian customers, and on a global level we continue to make investments in this area. We're pleased to work with Trend Micro, to provide deeper antivirus protection for our Hotmail customers," said Martin Hoffman, CEO of ninemsn.