Microsoft Buys Antivirus Vendor

Microsoft on Tuesday announced that it has bought the intellectual property and technology assets of a small Romanian antivirus vendor, but Microsoft left its intentions very fuzzy for how extensively it intends to get involved in the antivirus market.

Terms of the deal to purchase the assets of Bucharest-based GeCAD Software Srl., an 11-year-old company, weren't disclosed.

Corporate vice president Mike Nash, of the Microsoft security business unit, positioned Microsoft's move as a response to customer demands for Microsoft to take more responsibility for protecting its software from virus and worm threats. Nash also moved to reassure Microsoft's powerful antivirus partners, including Symantec, Network Associates, Trend Micro, Computer Associates, Sybari, GFI, Sophos and others, that Redmond wouldn't be encroaching on their space.

"This acquisition will help us and our partner antivirus providers further mitigate risks from these threats," Mike Nash, corporate vice president of the Security Business Unit at Microsoft, said in a statement. Nash also reportedly discussed the acquisition with antivirus vendors before the Tuesday announcement.

The company has been wading further into antivirus technologies lately. In April, Microsoft announced the Windows File System Filter Manager Architecture, which is supposed to simplify the development process for antivirus software providers and improve system reliability. In May, Microsoft launched the Virus Information Alliance with several antivirus vendors. The company also launched a new virus information site at Meanwhile, Exchange Server 2003 includes a number of programmatic hooks to encourage antivirus vendors to branch out into spam blocking.

Microsoft is staying quiet about its exact plans. A white paper published on Microsoft's Web site on Tuesday stated, "Details of the Microsoft antivirus solution, including any product plans, pricing, and a timeline for delivery, are not yet available. Microsoft strongly recommends that customers continue to use antivirus solutions from industry partners and keep their virus signatures updated."

Microsoft says the GeCAD acquisition was partly a way to buy antivirus talent that will help it design software that is better protected against viral threats. But the acquisition is also openly about an as-yet-undefined plan to make antivirus software more ubiquitous, which could be threatening to existing vendors because it implies that antivirus signatures could possibly become freely distributed as part of Windows or Office. "Work will be done to help increase today's limited percentage of customers that are protected with updated antivirus signatures, and attention also will be given to developing next-generation solutions for evolving threat models," Microsoft wrote in a statement.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.


  • Microsoft Shifting Away from Office 365 Brand Name in April

    Microsoft on Monday announced coming product naming changes, where "Office 365" is mostly getting replaced by the "Microsoft 365" brand.

  • Microsoft Grows Services Amid COVID-19

    Microsoft in a Saturday announcement recapped how its services have been affected by "shelter-in-place" governmental mandates in the last week, providing details on growth stats and prioritizations.

  • Microsoft Adds 6 More Months to Expiring Certification Programs

    Microsoft has announced an extension to the end date of three certification programs slated for retirement.

  • Microsoft's Surface Pro X: It's Like the Surface RT, But Better

    There's a lot about the Surface Pro X that's reminiscent of the ill-fated Surface RT. But despite the similarities, this might just be one of the rare cases where the sequel is better than the original.

comments powered by Disqus

Office 365 Watch

Sign up for our newsletter.

Terms and Privacy Policy consent

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.