The news had been rippling through the rumor mill since Microsoft acquired GIANT software – the maker of an effective anti-spyware suite – late last year. Now it is becoming official, as Microsoft has released an early beta of the product which looks remarkably similar to GIANT’s – which shouldn’t be surprising. GIANT’s software was one of the most effective, if relatively unknown, anti-spyware tools on the market.
Customers are now able to download the first beta version of Microsoft Windows Anti-Spyware. The tool is expected to complement traditional anti-virus technologies, as well as giving users consistently healthier PC’s. Windows Anti-Spyware will be available on January 11.
The Microsoft Windows malicious software removal tool will be offered as an update through Windows Update for Windows-XP users and as a download through the Microsoft Download Center for corporate customers.
Mike Nash, corporate vice president of Microsoft´s Security Business and Technology Unit, said spyware is a major concern for Microsoft customers, who look to the company for help. Spyware accounts for more than one-third of software program crashes on Windows XP that are reported to the company, he said in a document posted on Microsoft´s Web page.
Microsoft also said it´s releasing a free malicious-software-removal tool that consolidates earlier software tools that eradicated the Blaster, Mydoom and Sasser worms, and that tool will be updated each month to detect and remove new threats as they appear.
The release of Windows Anti-Spyware – even in an early beta format – sent tremors through the share prices of various anti-virus companies yesterday. Symantec Corp.´s share price was down by more than 6% yesterday, and rival McAfee Inc.´s shares fell by about 4% following Microsoft´s announcement.