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Windows AntiSpyware Beta Updated

Microsoft this week delivered a new version of the Windows AntiSpyware beta. The beta release comes weeks after a controversy over whether Microsoft gave preferential treatment with the antispyware software to an adware vendor, Claria (formerly known as Gator) that it was reportedly in talks with about an acquisition.

A Microsoft spokesperson said the new version makes no changes with regard to the way Windows AntiSpyware handles Claria. "This refresh provides additional new signature updates to customers; provides them with more information about programs and processes running on their PC; and solves an issue regarding the delivery of new anti-spyware signatures for some customers," the spokesperson said in an e-mail to reporters.

Windows AntiSpyware was greeted positively upon its release in January, outside the community of antispyware vendors that the currently free product threatens. However, Microsoft gave its pre-release product a major black eye and renewed conspiracy theories against Microsoft when media reports that it was in buyout talks with Claria coincided with reports that Microsoft had changed the way AntiSpyware handled Claria software.

Originally, the Windows AntiSpyware beta recommended removal of Claria software upon detection. The recommendation was changed to "ignore" in the last few months. In response to the controversy, Microsoft released a statement earlier this month that argues that AntiSpyware gives Claria no special treatment.

According to the statement, Claria filed a request in January for Microsoft to review its classification within Windows AntiSpyware. Microsoft communicated to Claria at the end of March that "adjustments should be made to the classification of Claria software in order to be fair and consistent with how Windows AntiSpyware (Beta) handles similar software from other vendors."

About the Author

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

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