Microsoft has entered the anti-spyware business with the launch of a free beta version of Microsoft AntiSpyware. The beta software is now available and covers all the basics a PC user needs when it comes to spyware and adware detection and removal. Part of me wants to applaud Microsoft and say that this is a very good thing for their customers, a move that is long overdue. The other part of me says that this is a band-aid approach and a funny way for them to admit defeat -- because it's holes in Microsoft's operating system that built the entire spyware industry to begin with.
In fact, Microsoft AntiSpyware, really is a collection of security and privacy tools that bundles a host of features.The package is simply a branded version of Giant Company Software's AntiSpyware program, which has been on the market for some time. Microsoft purchased Giant last year. The 6.4MB program works with Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows Server 2003.
But the cynic in me also looks at this as a rather ridiculous response to the problem -- or a set of problems that they are simply unable to fix: massive holes in their browser and fundamental flaws in their operating system that they cannot stay on top of. They might as well start building more standalone applications on top of all the holes, if that's the only way to fix them.
It's like selling people a toaster that could catch fire at any time, but then offering a free fire extinguisher to put out those fires as required. Is this the best they can do?