17 November 2003 Microsoft will shortly enter the market for anti-spamming software and services, the company’s chairman and founder, Bill Gates, told the giant US Comdex show in Las Vegas.
In a keynote to open the conference, Gates described a new server-based Windows product, called SmartScreen, that will interlink closely with anti-spamming software already embedded in Microsoft’s desktop email package, Outlook.
The move is likely to be seen as very welcome and long overdue by many Microsoft customers who are overwhelmed with unwanted email, or spam. The software will effectively enable companies to operate their own centralised anti-spamming service, filtering out messages and controlling access, in much the same way that many commercial services do today.
Analysts are already forecasting that some suppliers of email management and anti-spamming software might construe the move as anti-competitive and lodge complaints against Microsoft with US or European authorities. This will be especially likely if Microsoft bundles the service in with a Windows server licence.
Companies such as Quest, ClearSwift, NetIQ and SurfControl supply email management software that will now face competition from Microsoft. However, none of them will be surprised: Microsoft has long been expected to move into this area.
Gates also said Microsoft will deliver a significant 2004 upgrade to the server-based software facility called Internet Security and Acceleration. This will make it easier for corporate customers to install security ‘patches’ from a central location.