Analyst: Expect to Pay Less for Desktop Security

A Gartner analyst predicts Microsoft will charge less than $15 per user per year for its new anti-malware product and recommends that enterprises immediately leverage Microsoft's entry into the desktop security market to win concessions from competitors.

"Microsoft is entering the desktop security market, with both consumer and enterprise offerings. The software giant will face major challenges, but its entry will inevitably cause a market shift," Gartner analyst Neil MacDonald wrote in a recent research note.

On Oct. 6, Microsoft announced a limited beta later this year of a product tentatively called Microsoft Client Protection. The product will combine antivirus and antispyware technology to protect desktops, laptops and file servers. Microsoft has not said how much it will charge for the product.

"We expect Microsoft to offer a simple pricing model for this service, with annual subscription fees not exceeding $15 per user per PC," MacDonald predicted.

MacDonald offered Gartner's standard warning against large, complex enterprises switching to 1.0 versions of any product. Nonetheless, organizations should use Microsoft's announcement to gain leverage when negotiating renewal of desktop security contracts, even if they're not seriously considering Microsoft, MacDonald wrote.

"Avoid long-term contracts (more than two years) for desktop security products, because price points will likely drop at least 10 percent per year after Microsoft's entry," MacDonald said. "Stop paying extra for anti-spyware by the end of 2006," he added.

About the Author

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