11 June 2003 Software giant Microsoft has sent a shiver through the security software industry after announcing plans to buy the technology and intellectual property assets of GeCAD Software, a small Romanian-based antivirus software vendor.
The acquisition is part of Microsoft’s ‘Trustworthy Computing’ initiative. Mike Nash, vice president of Microsoft’s Security Business Unit, said that the company would integrate GeCAD’s core technology with its Windows operating system to deliver antivirus services to end-users by subscription.
However, Nash added that Microsoft has no plans to charge for its Windows Update tool, which pushes out updates and patches to users’ desktops.
The move could have a big impact on the antivirus software market leaders, Network Associates and Symantec. Despite diversification efforts, they both derive more than half of their revenues from sales of antivirus software.
But if Microsoft is to make in-roads into the antivirus software market, it will need to offer a service as fast and responsive as current vendors. They typically send out updates within minutes of a new virus being isolated ‘in the wild’.
If successful, the service could also help Microsoft populate its Passport online authentication system.
GeCAD’s antivirus software is most notable for its platform independent architecture, enabling the company to deliver its antivirus technology to a wide range of platforms, including Linux, Novell Netware and IBM zSeries mainframes.