March 17, 2006 4:00 AM PST

Spyware-killing Vista could take out rivals

There's a software product coming that has the potential to demote spyware from a security priority to an afterthought: Windows Vista.

Spyware has become a serious security problem for users of Microsoft's operating system over the past years, giving rise to a host of third-party tools to fight the insidious software. But perhaps the best defensive program has yet to ship, some analysts believe.

Microsoft later this year plans to release Windows Vista, the long-awaited successor to Windows XP. The operating system is being designed to shut the door on spyware. It will introduce important changes at the heart of the operating system, as well as to Internet Explorer, and include Windows Defender, an anti-spyware tool.

"The spyware threat will definitely shrink or shrivel" as Vista gets adopted, said John Pescatore, an analyst with Gartner. "We got a handle on spam. It still gets through, but it is such a small percentage now, we know how to deal with what gets through. That same thing will happen to spyware. It will be under control."

While Microsoft was working on Vista, spyware grew into a security nightmare. Experts believe the malicious software, which pops up ads on screens or spies on PC users, has been surreptitiously put on more than three-quarters of PCs. In an FBI survey published earlier this year, 80 percent of businesses reported spyware trouble, making it the most common security woe after viruses, worms and Trojan horses.

Images: Vista tackles spyware

Every new version of Windows offers some security improvements, but Vista more so, said Rob Enderle, an analyst with the Enderle Group. "Vista, because it was pretty much conceived during the toughest times for Microsoft with regards to malicious software, has the most protection in it compared to any of their platforms," he said.

Spyware and its less-noxious cousin adware are widely despised for their sneaky distribution tactics, unauthorized data gathering and slowing of PCs. The unwanted software does not typically land on a computer the way a virus or a worm does. Instead, it creeps onto a system by tricking the user into clicking on a malicious link on a Web site or in an instant message. Alternatively, the distributor may secretly bundle it with an innocuous application that the user does want, such as a free application for file sharing.

Though spyware has been able to haunt users of XP, it won't be as easy for miscreants to get their malicious software onto machines that run Vista, said Austin Wilson, a director in the Windows Client group at Microsoft.

Vista takes on spyware

Microsoft is taking a three-pronged approach with Windows Vista to reduce the threat of spyware.

User Account Control
By default, Windows Vista will run with fewer user privileges. The privileges control how a user can interact with the software. Most Windows XP users have "administrator" privileges, which could be abused by malicious software to install itself on a computer.

In Windows Vista, users will have to invoke administrator rights to perform certain tasks, such as installing software.

Internet Explorer 7
IE 7 will run in "protected mode." This mode will prevent silent installs of malicious software by stopping the Web browser from writing data anywhere on the PC except in a temporary files folder without first seeking permission.

Windows Defender
Microsoft's anti-spyware tool will block and clean up any infections that do make it through. The tool scans for spyware, adware, rootkits and other malicious code, but does not include antivirus technology.

"We have taken out a significant number of the attack vectors that spyware authors use today," said Austin Wilson, a director in the Windows Client group at Microsoft. "We're not saying that spyware will be gone because of Windows Vista. We do think we will make a significant impact."

Microsoft is taking a multipronged approach to fight spyware. Unlike XP, Vista will run by default with fewer user privileges. People will have to invoke full, "administrator," privileges to perform tasks such as installing an application.

Also, Internet Explorer 7, included with Vista, will prevent silent installs of malicious code by stopping the browser from writing data anywhere except in a temporary files folder without first seeking permission. Lastly, Windows Defender will clean up any infections that do make it through.

"It is three layers of protection," Wilson said.

While this may be good news for buyers of Vista, it is not for anyone who makes a living from selling anti-spyware software. The worldwide market has boomed recently, reaching $97 million in revenue in 2004, up 240.4 percent from a year earlier, according to IDC. However, companies such as Webroot Software and Sunbelt Software are in for tough times, analysts said.

"The aftermarket for Windows anti-spyware is going to dry up almost completely," said Yankee Group analyst Andrew Jaquith. "Windows Defender is going to become the default anti-spyware engine, certainly for most consumers that have Vista machines."

Gartner's Pescatore agreed. "Integrating Windows Defender into Windows Vista is sort of the last nail into the standalone anti-spyware coffin," he said.

CONTINUED: A silver bullet?…
Page 1 | 2

See more CNET content tagged:
malicious software, margin, spyware, Microsoft Windows Vista, security


Join the conversation!
Add your comment
I have never gotten a virus since DOS 3.3 until now. I have spent a lot of good money on AV software though.

I used to get pop-ups/spyware on occasion nothing serious and I would regularly run things like Ad-aware or spybot.

However since the combination of SP2 for XP, Microsoft Anti- spyware (now defender) and Symantec Anti-Virus Corporate edition 9 & 10 I have gotten nothing&.not a single pop-up or piece of spyware/malware&etc on any of the 4 PCs running XP in my house.

All of my PCs have auto-update turned on since it was available and I am sure that has something to do with it but I honestly think most of this is just a cash cow for these companies quoted in this article.

When I switch to Vista I am going to dump AV software all together and just go with auto-update and the built in defender.
Posted by Lindy01 (443 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I bet this guy works at microsoft!!! Nothing they ever make works the way they claim.
Posted by eSchmeltzer (18 comments )
Link Flag
You can't dump AV for Defender
Sorry but that is a mistake to dump your av software for windows defender. Windows Defender is a spyware/maleware remover and has nothing to do with Virus Protection. When you boot up vista the first thing you see is a baloon. No Anti Virus Software Detected.... So Norton, AVG and the others will be in business for sometime to come
Posted by wvgravehunter (3 comments )
Link Flag
I would like to know the retail price.
I don't mind paying for Windows Vista if its under $420
Posted by inachu (963 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I read
somewhere that is going to be $99 for the Home premium version.
Posted by Lindy01 (443 comments )
Link Flag
Don't do it!
I wouldn't waste your money just yet, as a Vista user I can tell you, stick with XP for at least another year.....
Posted by stacyann81 (2 comments )
Link Flag
Should Not Need Another Application Anyway
I'm pleased to hear this news and hope that it really does turn out
like this. While I'm not a fan of anti-competitive practices (e.g. the
Internet Explorer and Media Player issues), I do see security as
being a core function of the OS and therefore one that I would
much rather was not out-sourced to another company. I wish
Microsoft the best of luck in this and hope that its results means
that we no longer need the likes of Norton AntiVirus or Ad-Aware
in the future.
Posted by kelmon (1445 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I would not get rid of AV just yet
I do not think Vista's improvements will be enough to uninstall any AV software. While I agree you should not need an AV\security application, they are neccessary since OS upgrades are done with less frequency than AV software.
Posted by VI Joker (231 comments )
Link Flag
Nothing to worry about...
..Spyware software companies have nothing to worry about. Windows Vista will have a whole new set of weaknesses that virii can exploit.
Posted by lewissalem (167 comments )
Reply Link Flag
It's "viruses"!
"Virii" isn't a word.
Posted by Christopher Hall (1205 comments )
Link Flag
My thoughts exactly...
Posted by theoscnet (36 comments )
Link Flag
XP held the same promise.
It was indeed an improvement, yet the problem

One cannot discount the skills and
resourcefulness of the authors of malware.
Saying that Vista will put anti-spyware firms
out of business is like saying DRM measures will
thwart piracy. At best, both have fleeting
efficacy and are rapidly overcome by
knowledgable people adapting to the new
Posted by Zymurgist (397 comments )
Reply Link Flag
We heard this a few years ago. I will believe it when I see it. What's
funny about their "solutions" should have been standard in
the first place. You don't need to redesign the OS to implement
these changes. A simple redesign of IE along time ago would have
slowed the amount of spyware... they are doing this a little late in
the game.
Posted by Jesus#2 (127 comments )
Link Flag
Have you used Defender?
It's quite nice, very powerful. Much better than any of the other free anti-spyware programs I've had the displeasure of installing on my family's computers over the years.

Give it a shot.
<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>
Posted by Christopher Hall (1205 comments )
Link Flag
DRM is funny
it's very easy to simply play a song that has DRM in any normal media player, and then record it into an mp3 with a program called audacity. wow! the DRM is gone now!!! that was hard...
Posted by Amazingant (146 comments )
Link Flag
Nope, XP was released prior to MS's code review
Vista will be the first post-review consumer OS release and that means a signifigant improvement in overall security because even now some of the problems found in that review weren't patched back into XP.
Posted by aabcdefghij987654321 (1721 comments )
Link Flag
end spyware
We need a small, and simple to operate program, that will return really vicious worms to the authors. That will end spyware forever
Posted by fhowden (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
heres a simple idea
get a text editor, possibly one bundled with windows(or if your smart get Linux...), and read a tutorial on hacking, then another on programming put two and two together along with a nice cracked Blackice Server protection(cracked by you mr. future reverse engineer), which nicely logs any ip, then have at it....its your choice whether to rant about it or actually do something about it...maybe youll actually end up hacking google or something and they hire you for vulnerability testing and you end up making much more than your usual 9-5 day flipping burgers for your local mcdonalds....maybe youll even end up going to the biyearly Microsoft Hacker Convention, i might see you there..., if people would stop writing about it and whenever they get a spam email send the company a nice and friendly 16,000 emails an hour with a friendly mail bomb till they beg you to stop sending their message to every account their bot makes, anyways that my MOTD
Posted by Nocturnex (163 comments )
Link Flag
New Windows Follows Established Best Practices
A.K.A. Other operating systems sported these for years (excecpt for the unnecessary anti-spyware tool): Mac OS X, UNIX and GNU/Linux, etc. Sadly Microsoft will hail this as some sort of innovation.

The old joke Macintosh 89 / Windows 95 is back again in its newest form. Working professionally on over a dozen different operating systems including Mac OS X, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, GNU/Linux, NetWare, and Windows makes this sort of announcement especially frustrating. When will users drop the monkey see - monkey do attitude and recognize that other, better, products exist.
Posted by gnurob (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Man, get over it
The whole "innovation" argument is so tired. Nobody - including Apple, Microsoft, and the major *nix distributors - has done anything truly original, all going back to Xerox. Every single aspect of the modern operating system has been lifted from somewhere. People like you just need to stop whining about it.
Posted by Christopher Hall (1205 comments )
Link Flag
Marketing, marketing, marketing
Its the one things M$ has done better than Apple, UNIX, and Linux as far as OSs. They prey on the people's lack of knowledge and concerns then spin them into "improvements" that the general population is not aware exisited previously. Apple did a great job of this with the iPod, it would be to their benifit if they did the same thing with they Mac products.
Posted by VI Joker (231 comments )
Link Flag
I'll believe it when I see it!!
This is just another case where Microsoft is 'over-stating' and 'over-hyping' their next release. However, they have yet to release anything that has been tested and proven to be solid BEFORE RELEASE! (They seem to leave that work to the public. ;-) )

Until they begin to display this type of behavior you can bet I'll be running a 2rd party software to protect my data and my time.

I have never had a problem running my XP machines with the Zone Labs Integrity Desktop firewall (free), Grisoft's AVG antivirus (also free), and either Adware or SpyBot Search and Destroy.

There is NO WAY I would run Vista without them.
Posted by briancgraham (9 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Smart Consumer
Unfortunately you are not in the majority, most people when they get Vista will be swallow the M$ marketing. Others will upgrade to Vista do some investigating and come to a conlusion to whether or not the hype has any truth to it. Other will not upgrade to Vista till 2009 or till SP1 one comes out, which ever comes first. The rest will be on Linux, Mac, or any OS that is not Windows.
Posted by VI Joker (231 comments )
Link Flag
I don't think so
For once, where do they get off saying that "We got a handle on spam." Wow, did you? Is it because Outlook 2003(r) has a mediocre text-based filtering system that's two years behind free apps? Do you mean to say that IIS e-mail services handle spam? I get as much spam today as I did three years ago.

Hopefully, Microsoft Windows Vista(r) will fix IE to the point where it will be impossible for spyware to be installed without your knowledge. Of course, what should happen if someone intentionally installs a program that is ad-supported. I guess the Microsoft Defender (tm) might take it out, but then again it will probably not be perfect. So there'll be a demand for other anti-spyware products to make sure systems are protected.
Posted by sanenazok (3449 comments )
Reply Link Flag
That's what they said about Internet Explorer
I bet they'll make it next to impossible to turn it off and use a competitor's product too.

Oh, and spyware IS and afterthought, for everybody EXCEPT Windows users.
Posted by brendlerjg (7 comments )
Reply Link Flag
they will probably end up doing that, and then i'll file a law suit for not allowing me to use Firefox. i mean, if someone can win a law suit for not labling a cup of coffee as being hot, then i can win this.
Posted by Amazingant (146 comments )
Link Flag
Bad Luck
Too right.

I'm not paying for Vista if it's anything under $365.43....
Posted by uparrow (19 comments )
Reply Link Flag
But who will upgrade?
I'll believe the hype when I see it. But how many of us are going to
go out and spend alot of money on a new system just to run
Vista??? Not me, I'll stick with my little mac.
Posted by Tiger1964 (28 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Dell, HP, Toshiba, Sony...
... will be leading the charge. The M$ gameplay comes equiped with front people, which is how M$ got and kept the market share for so long. People will not upgrade any time soon, but if they buy a new PC you bet its going to have Vista on it instead of XP.
Posted by VI Joker (231 comments )
Link Flag
Defender going to be Free?
I thought I heard that once Defender was out of Beta it was no
longer going to be free.

This article seems to make it sound as if it is always going to be
free and is going to protect all Vista systems.
Posted by TheTSArt1 (16 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Defender = Free, OneCare=Not
Yes, Windows Defender will be built in to Windows Vista. It won't cost anything. A version for Windows XP will also be available, at no cost.

Microsoft will charge for Windows Live OneCare, its antivirus product that includes some PC health tools (like defrag and backup) as well as antispyware.

Joris Evers
Posted by JorisEvers (48 comments )
Link Flag
MS could save themselves the trouble by using a UNIX core...
Welcome to the wonderful world of secure computing with Linux/UNIX. The "new inventions" in Vista have been core parts of *NIX since 1973.

Get with it.
Posted by digikid (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
You know, Microsoft has cost me many sleepless nights. Boy, I wish they were perfect. Sometimes I wish they were even good.

But you LOONIX guys amaze me.

You just continue to drink your own acidic Kool-Aid, while writing your little open source mini-apps that no responsible business manager will ever, ever deploy. When are you going to tire of pissing up that rope?

The simple fact is that Windows rules the market for corporate desktops, and will for the foreseeable future. UNIX derivatives are hopelessly stuck in second or third depending on how you define the MAC OS.

"Secure Computing With L/UNIX since 1973." LOL, ever hear of DIGITAL or VMS? Where do you think NT came from? And, BTW, I thought LINUX was written from scratch? Sure looked like it to me when I first messed with it. I mean, it was GREAT. I could boot a computer into it but essentially had a useless device that had to RE-COMPILE THE KERNEL EVERY TIME I NEEDED TO INSTALL SOMETHING.

So, you get with it.

Fix your hardware support problems and write some applications that are reasonable substitutes for the extensive MS catalog deployed on networks around the world - along with some server-based systems that don't really suck (including APACHE and MYSQL) - or crawl back under the rock from which you came out to post your little drive-by-mini-rant.

Personally, I don't have the luxury of sitting on the Open-Source-Soapbox moaning about this and moaning about that while paying customers want me to develop/deploy/fix/maintain systems on their WINDOWS-BASED ENTERPRISE NETWORKS.

CYA at the bank, dood. Or maybe not.
Posted by rivsys (26 comments )
Link Flag
Suprise Suprise!
I can't believe it! No one can! (or atleast should)

So Microsoft is gonna have a rock solid operating system that
will be able to handle security attacks, and now will have anti-
spyware all worked out.....this sounds so familiar.....oh yeah it's
the traditional broken promise and bloated rember the
old ones don't you??

The new version of windows(95) will eliminate the need to
reboot (well most of the time). BIG FAT LIE

The new version of windows(98) is Plug and Play, no more
worries about drivers or configuration problems BIG FAT LIE

The new update to windows (SP2) has the best security features
and will dramatically decrease vunerabilities and the need for
patches BIG FAT LIE

The new version of windows(95,98,2000, XP) is Rock Solid and
crash proof "blue screens will become a thing of the past" BIG

Were making it harder for attackers to get in and no how to
handle the ones that do in the new version of windows (BLEAK

Vista is a DRM nightmare! Designed from the ground up to
exploit the "consumer" and will be just like everything else,
worse then before, and more vunerable then a virgin in a federal
Posted by rudy28 (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Let me guess...
you don't like Windows???
Posted by Charleston Charge (362 comments )
Link Flag
Well let's see
Your using a hardware firewall.........Big help costs $$
Using anti-spyware...................Big help costs $$
Your not logged on as an administrator....big help (can be a
Shut down regularly.....Big help

- I don't have a HW firewall, don't even use built in software on
most of the time
- I don't have any anti-spywear, or antivirus software on my
-I am always running as Administrator, and rarely shutdown.

(Never had a successful attack, definately not any viruses, and
spywear is non existant.....but I'm on a Mac)
Point is, if I was on Windows running my system like I do, I'd be
down most of the time.....I know, because my roomates are
down most of the time on all their Windows Systems.
Posted by rudy28 (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Not really necessary
I am always logged on as administrator. I don't use any type of firewall. I don't use any spyware tools. While I do occasionally run a virus checker, it has yet to find anything. My system is never down unless I'm finished using it.

What am I doing that keeps the system clean?

1) Not visiting any "dangerous" sites such as porn or "hacker" sites.
2) Not installing any software that includes "klingons."
3) Not opening any mail that is "suspect" - and NEVER opening any attachments unless (a) I know the sender AND (b) the sender has SAID there is a file attached.

These three precautions have kept my system up and running, and free from anything undesirable.

Sadly, #2 has prevented me from using most of the truly free(as opposed to the "free to try") software available at CNet's
Posted by Jim Harmon (329 comments )
Link Flag
Wake Up! - MS Anti-Spyware = Best Way To "Break" Competitors New Web Apps
Microsofts interest in providing free (or low cost) anti-spyware and anti-virus software is not out of a desire to provide a more secure PC for the user, it's purely out of a self-preserving interest.

I can not think of a better way to "break" competitors new web apps than telling (common) pc users that the (competitors) web software that they are about to run "could be spyware" - what a great way to frighten that average user into not using a competitors new web software. And best of all, Microsoft does not even have to change the OS code to break the competitors new web apps -- they just have to update the current list of known spyware with the name of the competitors web application (via web updates).

Microsoft already breaks competitors desktop applications by changing the windows OS (but Microsoft can only do this OS "trick" once every 4 or 5 years). With anti-spyware, who-ever "owns" the anti-spyware software on the desktop will be the one who gets to "break" whatever competitors web software they desire (i.e., or, at least temporarily frighten common pc users into not using a competitors apps, until Microsoft can "catchup"). This is just too powerful of an opportunity for Microsoft to allow another software company (competitor) to "own" the (desktop) rights to.
Posted by concernedcitizen (14 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Example: "Warning: You're About To Run Non .NET Manged Code"
For example, once Microsoft acheives anti-spyware market share, they could decide to simply "scare" users by saying "Warning: You're About To Run Non .NET Manged Code" to keep, say, 50% of common users to not adopt a new web/windows application.

Remember what Internet Explorer 6 said (even if there was no real reason to):

"... Internet Explorer has restricted this file from showing active content that could access your computer."
Posted by concernedcitizen (14 comments )
Link Flag
Example: "Warning: '(fill in competitors app name) Could Contain SpyWare."
see title.
Posted by concernedcitizen (14 comments )
Link Flag
Computer Industry Scumbags
I can easily see why someone wouldn't run any of the anti-spyware, firewall, and anti-virus program scams. Every single time I run one it slows down or shuts down my computer. As far as I can tell, the whole industry of "anti-" programs is nothing but a scam. None of them do anything I can see, except wreck my computer. These "anti-" programs continually lock up my computer. I can't even get online much of the time when they're running. I'm on my 3rd new computer in the last 2 weeks, and this one is going back as soon as I can find a replacement. The next computer I get will have 0 anti-spyware, anti-virus, and firewall protection. It seems these are solutions that are worse than the problem. It doesn't do any good to have this alleged "protection" if you can't even get online.

The whole computer industry/scam is providing progressively worse products every year. They're only concerned about upselling their latest non-functional software to solve problems they created themselves, as well as forcing users to buy new "improved" operating systems to replace better functioning ones of the past. This latter is nothing but greed-induced planned obsolescence. It has nothing to do with providing a better product and everything to do with raking in undeserved profits for newer, poorly functioning upgrades.

Microsoft and other computer production suppliers are nothing but Corporate criminals. Though it may be legal to change operating systems and make previous ones obsolete, it's certainly a slimeball way to make money.

I'd like to see Bill Gates and all the other Corporate thugs in the computer industry go to prison. Unfortunately, their scumbag practices are apparently legal, and will remain legal as long as Corporate America controls our government.


EconomicPopulistCommentary <a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>

EconomicPatriotForum <a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>
Posted by unlawflcombatnt (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Look, I'm not going as far as Concerned Citizen (post# 47) and say Microsoft will use their built in anti-spyware to break competitors web apps, but regardless, I don't want Microsoft to be the one determining what is spyware and what's not. Especially since they were slow to slam Sony's use of rootkit technology. I'd rather not risk having Microsoft determine that ads from their Live Web project or what ever it's called, is not spyware and interfere with my wife's websurfing experience.

By the time I'm forced to upgrade my wife's computer to Vista (not even near a top priority since we just bought her a new computer), I'll have plenty of data from the early adapters on what's the best alternative spyware and firewall to use.

And as for worrying about spyware and viruses, most of us on this forum are above average when it comes to setting up and securing our systems. For the average user whom this is aimed at, it's a good thing. Windows is not as inherently as secure as Mac OS X but you can't deny it's gotten better over the years, forced in no small part by people like us making our voices heard and our comparision of Microsoft products like Internet Explorer to alternatives.
Posted by Jeremiah256 (28 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Amazingly naive...
To be blunt, there will be no such thing as a "Spyware-killing"
Vista. Period. Certainly not because of the utter simplistic notion
that because Microsoft finally decides on taking a best - well,
better - approach to software security in Vista than it has in
previous OS efforts, everything will change. It's a new dawn in
technology, lol.

Unfortunately, that is no basis for even assuming Spyware
authors will even be remotely deterred. If you believe the
"Spyware-killing" Vista riff, you're living in a fantasy world. Not a
good place to be in a discussion revolving around security.

Here's the issue that everyone seems to quietly ignore: the
security game for Microsoft is over. That's right, over - and it
has been (rather obviously) for quite some time now. Microsoft
lost (abdicated, actually, lol), and the spyware authors of the
world won. That's the way it's been on the Windows platform
FOR YEARS up until now. Spyware, Inc., thanks to Microsoft's
reluctance to effectively deal with early enough, was allowed to
become big business and now has simply too much invested in
Windows to let MS's new OS stand in the way of their livelihood.
It's here to stay

And the problem for Microsoft (well, users actually) isn't just the
deep entrenchment of Spyware, et al., on it's platform. Insofar as
Vista is concerned, the minute the first copy of Vista ends up in
Mr Joe Consumer's house, Microsoft will have put all of it's
security cards face up on the table. Spyware authors, on the
other hand, have the luxury of not showing a single card in their
hand until they have taken the time to analyze what Microsoft
has done (or not done) security-wise with Vista. That's a
tremendous advantage for Spyware, a serious disadvantage for
Microsoft, and that's a distinction that cannot be overlooked,
underestimated, or, as in the case of this article, conveniently

I mean you seriously don't believe that the folks who write
Spyware today cannot adapt/rewrite their code accordingly for
any changes that show up in the Window's platform tomorrow,
do you? Not that they may need to very much since activeX and
the system registry are all coming along for the ride in Vista.
You know, Just like the good old days, lol.
Posted by Terry Murphy (82 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Well stated and exactly right
Too bad CNET does not have a moderation for comments like this one.
Posted by Dachi (797 comments )
Link Flag
Anti-Spyware Control = Influence Over What Apps Are Installed
It's all about controlling the "applications barrier to entry" as outlined in the "Findings of Fact" in the US vs. Microsoft anti-trust case.

Most of the anti-trust case was about Microsoft over and over again attempting to kill off or weaken any other applications that lowered or weakened the applications barrier (which Microsoft controlled). See examples in the "Findings of Fact" for: Netscape's browser; Sun's Java; RealNetworks streaming software; Apple's QuickTime; Intel's NSP software; IBM's Notes).

If I were Microsoft and I realized that most applications today are now distributed via the Web, and less and less through traditional OEMs (PC makers), I would want to replace my control over what apps OEMs placed on new PCs (see Microsoft/OEM stories), with some sort of control over what apps USERS are now placing (installing) on their PCs via web downloads.

Microsoft still has strong influence over the OEM side of application distribution.

The question is how do you influence the other (growing) side of application distribution - apps that users get by downloading via the web and installing on their PCs?

I think there are at least 3 ways (maybe more) to get influence over application installations via the web, all of which Microsoft probably wants to try to exert some influence over:

1. Marketing (Microsoft has all the money for this),

2. Word of Mouth/User Opinion (here, web democracy can over come marketing dollars),

3. Anti-Spyware - influence users to hesitate about installing competitors apps downloaded from the web (thus increasing the "application barrier to entry"). I know the first time I saw the Internet Explorer 6 warning about code possibly accessing my PC, I canceled out, until I could later go online and verify that the product was known to not be spyware.

At any rate, Microsoft knows the past-power of staying in control of the "application barrier to entry", sometimes by controlling OEM application installation, sometimes by withholding needed technical information from competitors, etc, etc.

They also probably realize that a significant amount of future applications will be distributed and installed via the web (as opposed to via OEMs). Bill G. knows this; remember the famous memo: "In late May 1995, Bill Gates, the chairman and CEO of Microsoft, sent a memorandum entitled "The Internet Tidal Wave" to Microsoft's executives".

Anyway, Microsoft definitely would not want to pass up on this new type of influence (i.e., anti-spyware) over the "applications barrier to entry", especially when all they had to do was provide anti-spyware for free and/or bundle it with Vista.

I'm not saying Microsoft will win the anti-spyware market, but Microsoft can't let someone else exert more control than they do over what new apps get installed on top of their operating system (otherwise Microsofts "application barrier to entry" gets weakened, which they are not going to allow).
Posted by concernedcitizen (14 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I don't see anything special about Microsoft Defender. In my opinion, Ad-Aware is better. Defender is a load of crap
Posted by davidman2010 (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
To the makers of the worms ats all a game, they are not about to give up...
the more complex the OS, the more ways to intrude

It's like the law-makers. Due to thieves we make laws that make it easyer to punish them etc. Yet these laws make life extremely difficult and expensive for the average person. And thieves continue business as usual ;-)

Look at 9-11, air travel has never been so troublesome, yet Osama and all the terrorism just continue (in fact, its even worse now)

With every attempt to patch the holes and create security updates, the makers of viruses and worms are given a new challenge to break this one again. It's like a computer game to them.

No, viruses are part of our life and we will never see computer life without it anymore. We have challenged the jokers who make them and they have responded. They are addicted to it now. It's their most challenging computergame now.

Just like the terorists, they need no reason. It's a sports by itsself now.

Its the "punk" revelotion all over. Defy law and order. Stand up agains all that calls itsself civil.

Funny though, all the security attacks are aimed at Windows. Not Linux... Not Mac...

Could it be that Windows stands for the "establishment" that the "punkers" are aiming at...?
Posted by (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What planet is this microsoft man on?
"We got a handle on spam. It still gets through, but it is such a small percentage now, we know how to deal with what gets through. That same thing will happen to spyware. It will be under control."

I cannot beleive I've just read that. I'm still getting tons of spam - mainly from compromised windows PCs. Spam is NOT under control, maybe some people aren't getting a lot but thats because a lot of ISPs are using third party company filters to stop it before it gets to you.

If Microsoft have such a slanted view of the world then how on earth can they make statements on how Vista will kill off Spyware etc.
Posted by Steve_a (22 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Pretty Darn Comfortable with My Secure Linux Laptop
especially when I hear folks talk about how their computer has slowed down...the probable problem: spyware.

Turning spyware monitoring over to Microsoft will create as many problems as it supposedly solves.

Linux share inherit the earth
Posted by marytee (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag

Join the conversation

Add your comment

The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Click here to review our Terms of Use.

What's Hot



RSS Feeds

Add headlines from CNET News to your homepage or feedreader.