Paid Microsoft Anti-Virus Subscription Service in the Works?

Microsoft is leaning toward offering a paid anti-virus subscription service.

Mike Nash, corporate vice president for the security business and technology unit at Microsoft, said Microsoft will probably sell its own anti-virus software and subscription service. It is the first public signal that Microsoft intends to turn its acquisition of the Romanian anti-virus company GeCAD into a product customers pay for.

The comments came up at a dinner with reporters in Seattle on Monday night when Nash was asked how Microsoft's anti-virus efforts might affect Symantec. "I want to make sure customers have another choice," the Bloomberg News agency quoted Nash as saying. "Some people will continue to use Symantec, and some will use ours."

Shares of Symantec, which gets 85 percent of its revenues from anti-virus products, were down following Nash's comments, according to Bloomberg.

Previously, Microsoft had been coy about its plans for GeCAD, which it acquired last June. "This acquisition will help us and our partner anti-virus providers further mitigate risks from these threats," Nash said at the time, implying Microsoft would use GeCAD's programming talent to make Windows and other Microsoft products more resistant to viruses.

But Microsoft also immediately indicated at the time that it was fully evaluating how to proceed with GeCAD's technology and employees. In a white paper published last June on Microsoft's Web site, the company wrote, "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."

About the Author

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