What Microsoft’s Anti-Virus Offering Means To You and the Competition

Microsoft Corp. announced that it has signed definitive agreements to acquire Sybari Software Inc., a provider of security products that help more than 10,000 businesses worldwide protect their messaging and collaboration servers from viruses, worms and spam. Microsoft will use this acquisition to further provide its enterprise customers with new solutions to help protect them from malicious software.
If you think that Microsoft is going to offer a half-baked anti-virus solution – think again. This purchase is more than just some “spin” based on money, market share and greedy acquisitions.
This purchase was based on Microsoft’s own use of Sybari, followed by extensive testing.

Microsoft Chief Information Officer Ron Markezich says, “About a year ago we conducted a major analysis of leading gateway antivirus products. We set up a controlled lab environment that fully matched the Microsoft production environment in number of servers, simulated traffic and so on. We tested on the basis of both performance and functionality. Could a product maintain its virus-catching performance even under the most stressful loads? Could it perform under unexpected conditions, such as when a computer reboots because of maintenance updates? Did the solution support all the messaging encoding it was likely to encounter? Did it integrate natively with Exchange Server, eliminating the need for dedicated virus scanning computers?
Perhaps the key issue from a management perspective was, did the solution support multiple scanning engines? That’s absolutely crucial because, if you depend on a single scanning engine and it misses the infection or is taken down by it, you’re sunk. With multiple engines all working through a single scanning solution, you get faster response, more certain response, and more reliable operation during an actual threat.
On all of these measures, Sybari was far and away above anything else we looked at. We went into production with Sybari on our communication and collaboration environment in May 2004 and it immediately became an integral part of our messaging hygiene defense. We have better protection at lower cost than we had before. We strip harmful attachments without losing mail. We scan Zip files. We consolidated the number of our Internet gateways from 18 to 10 for a tremendous reduction in TCO. We have full protection even during peak traffic.
After hearing this, one gathers that Sybari is a technologically STRONG company and will provide a solid anti-virus offering for Microsoft. (Read Markezich’s full comments here
What about other anti-virus/security vendors. They SHOULD worry. As Microsoft offers more and more solutions that were formerly provided by 3rd party software vendors, their market share will decrease.