Microsoft Antivirus - extortion, expedience or the extinction of the AV industry?

Randy Abrams ESET

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In 1993 Microsoft released DOS6.0 which included Microsoft Anti-Virus, a re-branded and ill-conceived entry into the anti-virus industry. In 2003 Microsoft announced the acquisition of RAV anti-virus and in late 2004 the acquisition of Giant anti-spyware.

From 2003 it was obvious that Microsoft would become a player in the anti-virus industry at some level. Many comments were made at the time about Microsoft's previous debacle in the industry, and of course diehard Micro-haters cite this as a predication of the quality of the new product.

Having worked with Microsoft security professionals for several years, as well as with the developers of RAV for a couple of years prior to the acquisition, I have my own views as to the predicted performance of the offering.

This paper will take a look at the product that was acquired, the changes in the corporate culture at Microsoft between 1993 and today, and the effect on the product Microsoft is bringing to market. I left Microsoft in June of 2005 to join ESET, an anti-virus company. Should I be concerned about the longevity of my job? What about the diversity of choices of anti-virus software available today - will there be any left? Will the new Microsoft product leave users in worse, or very little better shape than they were before, as the old MSAV arguably did?


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