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Microsoft offering Security Essentials via Windows Update

by Pete Mason on 10 November 2010, 15:42

Tags: Security Essentials, Panda, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Trend Micro

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Security Essentials - Microsoft's free to use home and small-business anti-malware package - has peacefully co-existed with the competition since it was launched last year. But now that the software-giant has stated to offer the software to customers through Windows Update it's been ruffling a few feathers among security companies.

Unfair competition

Carol Carpenter, a general manager at Trend Micro told Computerworld that "commercializing Windows Update to distribute other software applications raises significant questions about unfair competition."

"Windows Update is a de facto extension of Windows, so to begin delivering software tied to updates has us concerned," she commented, adding that "what concerns us is a vendor using market leverage to drive its solution in some unfair way".

Juan Santana, CEO of Panda Security, also weighed in on the issue. In comments made to CNET, he suggested that "this will end up in action taken, especially in Europe," noting that the company "will monitor the situation".

An unproven track-record

However, Pedro Bustamante, a senior researcher at the company, went further, blasting Microsoft in a blog post for pushing a "basic product" that "has not proven itself to provide sufficient protection". He continued to slate the software-giant for trying to create a "monoculture" that would allow hackers to easily infect "hundreds of millions" of computers and for failing to spend resources "on making the OS more secure, not just putting a band-aid on it".

When questioned, representatives from Symantec and McAfee refused to tackle the issue, claiming that their paid products offered a different level of protection.

Line in the sand

At this point, it seems unlikely that will Microsoft fall-foul of any competition-laws. Not only is the software only being offered as an optional update, but it won't appear on systems that already have anti-virus software - from any vendor - installed. It'll also be unavailable to the estimated 40 per cent of systems running pirated copies of Windows. A fellow from Gartner echoed these sentiments, commenting that bundling software in with the OS was "where the line typically is drawn with antitrust issues".

We're inclined to agree with the comments that, regardless of your thoughts on Security Essentials, some protection is better than no protection at all. Whether the European Commission sees it that way is another matter entirely.



HEXUS Forums :: 12 Comments

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The way I see it; Windows' reputation has long been tarred with security issues and how prone it is to viral infection compared to Linux and Macs, and the greed of most of the major security players is such that proper protection is out of the budget range of most people.

I'm aware there are some good freeware suites out there, but I don't blame Microsoft for doing this. They have their platform reputation to maintain.
This REALLY angers me when companies do stuff like this.

How can these companies dictate what MS do with THEIR operating system? It's just IE all over again, it's their OS, let them do whatever the hell they like with it.

If your AV or internet browser isn't good enough to attract the vast majority of “customers”, then redesign it until it is.

You don't see Recaro twining at Ford or Toyota or anyone for providing seats with their cars…. It's exactly the same thing.
TBH it's pretty hard as a consumer to feel sorry for the major AV players - most of their products are crap and cost a fortune. Of course MSE isn't licenced for anything above small companies so their fat corporate markets are safe (well that and the fact that IT departments ‘stick with wot they know’ - i.e. not-a-lot).

Matty - car seats? really? lol!
Why would you rely on Microsoft solution to protect you against flaws in its own product in the first place?

Seems odd a bit, no?
spoon_
Why would you rely on Microsoft solution to protect you against flaws in its own product in the first place?

Seems odd a bit, no?

The biggest flaw is usually the user - who clicks ‘OK’ to ‘install malware’. Given MS wrote the OS they also have the benefit of insight and knowledge beyond that of 3rd parties so it's not necessarily a bad thing and you may of missed how completely security-mental MS have gotten in the past few years from the sounds of it!

What seems ‘odd’ to me is installing Norton or McAffee products because their utter ****e.