Godzilla vs. Mothra?
Anyone remotely involved in the computer security space has probably seen this coming for quite some time: IDG News Service says computer security company Symantec Corp. has filed a complaint with the European Union following Microsoft's announcement last week that it plans to wade into the anti-virus market later this year.
As noted by guest Security Fix blogger and Post tech columnist Rob Pegoraro, the offering detailed by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will focus on business markets, not home computing. Still, Symantec has to be concerned that Microsoft will bundle the security software with Windows Vista -- the long-delayed next version of Windows -- currently slated to be released sometime next year.
Personally, I feel like Microsoft has an obligation to offer this type of service to its customers, be they home or corporate users. I have found Microsoft's anti-spyware product to be highly effective, but then again it is free -- at least for now. In the end, consumers and businesses should be free to decide whether they're okay paying for a security service offered by the same company responsible for creating the problems in the first place.
Still, I'd like to think Microsoft has learned from its entanglement with antitrust regulators both here and abroad, especially after having been ordered last year by EU antitrust regulators to pay nearly 500 million euros to end a five-year inquiry over its bundling of the Windows Media Player with the operating system. The company has to realize that seamlessly stitching this offering into the operating system would be a recipe for more trouble on the antitrust front.
On a side note, the last two Windows computers I've purchased have had Symantec's Norton antivirus software installed on the machines by default, including a free 90-day subscription to antivirus updates.Symantec is not alone in this practice. Other antivirus firms have struck similar deals with other PC makers to have their products factory-installed, with roughly the same trial offers.
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