Can Microsoft Succeed in Security?
Microsoft has now assembled the pieces of a new PC security platform and is launching their first private beta test this month. The product will be an $80/year subscription service that includes anti-spyware, anti-virus, and anti-spam components and is scheduled for release sometime in 2006.
We are anxious to see how this offering stacks up against the established PC security vendors who have been doing this for years (ie: Webroot, McAfee, Norton, Aluria, and so on). In a move that seems calculated to take out an entire industry which has evolved around Microsoft's inability to secure their own software, it seems that the odds are against them.
Here's why. Microsoft is going heads up against a number of small (and by small, we mean perhaps 150 employees) companies which thrive solely on their ability to succeed where Microsoft has failed in the past (security). While these companies are staffed with highly motivated employees with a "startup" mindset, Microsoft is staffed largely with either line-level engineers - many quite brilliant, but with no chance of ever walking away with a million dollar stock option plan, or employees with sizable stock and options who have already checked out (even if they are punching in). While Microsoft is clearly the winner when it comes to providing software engineers with a stable paycheck (not to be discounted these days), they certainly aren't the place to go for techies looking to strike it rich.
The question is then, will an army of semi-motivated Microsoft engineers be able to tame an increasingly hostile internet dominated by hackers, spammers, and PC snoops? And even if they can't, will a super-simple PC security solution, even if it isn't as effective as the tools provided by outside vendors, be so appealing to the mass market that it will eventually make this cottage industry obsolete?
Only time will tell...
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