With Symantec and McAfee in its sights, Microsoft last week announced it will release its much-anticipated desktop security software—currently dubbed Microsoft Client Protection—into beta-testing later this year.
The combined antivirus, antimalware and antispyware product, developed under the code name Jamaica, is expected to be renamed and released in 2006, though Microsoft acknowledged that ship date it could slip.
Microsoft partners expect the solution to sell well into cost-conscious SMB customers but to be a harder sell to the enterprise.
“This may be real good for [Small and Midmarket Solutions & Partner]-sized accounts and some larger ones, but I don’t think it will go for the majority of enterprise-class customers,” said Bob Tedesco, CTO of Resolute, Bellevue, Wash. “Larger enterprise customers don’t even want to use Microsoft Update. They want updates pulled from internal systems, not from over the Internet, and they want to be in full control."
Paul Bryan, director of product management for Microsoft’s enterprise access and security products division, said Microsoft Client Protection will protect desktops, laptops and basic file servers, but e-mail and application servers are better served by the managed services Microsoft acquired in 2004 from FrontBridge Technologies.
Microsoft Client Protection is targeted at IT administrators. It will be offered at annual subscription rates on a per-user or per-device basis, but pricing was not disclosed. Microsoft Antigen for Exchange is set to go into beta testing in first half of 2006, based on code acquired from Sybari.
“Most of our clients are using [Computer Associates International] eTrust or Symantec suites. The Microsoft offering sounds interesting, but it will depend on pricing and how clients feel about Microsoft,” said Michael Goldstein, vice president at LAN Associates, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. “Some clients feel like they do not want Microsoft to control all products.”