Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board




MS to sell anti-virus software

Alas, I was trying to find a data pointing to April 1st but couldn't.

http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?storyID=5429092

TheGeezer
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Great. Now we'll have that damn Office paper-clip appearing on our desktops saying:

"Hi! It looks like your computer has been infected by a virus..."

jk
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Well, why sell an ounce of prevention when you can get rich selling tons of cure?

Logical
Thursday, June 17, 2004

I am actually VERY surprised that MS is going into the virus protection market.

As a general rule, MS tends to avoid doing things that they are not that great at. There was comments in other threads here about how MS took over business from companies that make disk utilities, and disk compression software. (my gosh..that stuff belongs on the os. And, they still purchase technology from Symantec anyway).

In MOST cases, these features are included simply because consumers need these, not some evil empire agenda. By include virus software with windows, or part of some bundle, there is VERY little money to be made here by ms. Almost none at all. And, virus makers like AVG are little threat to ms (and, in fact, AVG broke into the market by offering free virus software).

I recall the recent ECU ruling against MS on the issue of the windows media player. What people don’t understand was that the windows media player was available in windows 3.1! (can you believe that!!). Sure, if you ask companies that came along FIFTEEN years later like Real Audio, then I am at a loss as to why the media player needs un-bundling!

(in fact, the ECU just used this false issue as a means to extort half a billion out of MS. What a bunch of low life dog criminals these guys are! That is the LARGEST fine in ECU history, and this is based on the media player issue? (criminals they are!).

Fact is, products like Real Audio/Real Player etc don’t represent the platform mentality. Worse, I am just shocked at how few sites now are offering real audio.

The problem is that once I convert a format into real audio, I am sunk. At least with the windows media player, I can go an grab the latest and greatest mepg4/ divix codec from a country OUT side of the USA, and use that cool codec with windows media player. In other words, the windows media  player gladly supports developers, and anyone who wants to write codec’s for the media player. This tradition goes all the way back to windows 3.1 (long before those other companies started complaining about the media player). 

I can’t imagine that if the government went to the Stereo manufactures and asked them what they thought of the fact that GM, or Ford has control over the stereos they sell in their cars. How on earth would you NOT expect the stereo manufactures to LOUDLY complain (what do they have to loose?). Of course they will cry anything that they are being locked out of the OEM auto market?.

Of course, the same stupidly occurred with this ECU ruling on the media player. They go and ask  companies like real audio to come forward and complain? What the heck you think the are going to do…not come forward and complain?

The fact is that Real Audio took the proprietary approach to their system. If real audio supported general plug in codes, then Real audio would be a useful player to me. At least with the windows media payer, I can go and download a bootleg x-DVD codec and it runs just fine. This is no different then simply installing and running any piece of software. Once again, my only point on issue is that ms prefers to be the platform vender.

Why did not real audio make a bunch of codec’s for the windows media player? At least this approach could have saved their business (they sell all the content making stuff, and all the server based stuff to create content (they ALWAYS gave the player away..it was the server stuff where they made money).  But, what good is that content stuff if you don’t have a client?

Divx is a wildly popular codec, and it works with the media player (what the heck was real audio thinking here?).  Real audio had blinders on, and simply wanted to build the player to funnel ad revenue back to them. They were too narrow mined here.

And, I should note that Divix DOES HAVE a codec that forces your to view advertising from the internet (you can either pay for the higher quality codec, or endure advertising (and, they have a low end free one also)).

So, you can’t make the argument that advertising WAS NOT possible with real audio if they gave up their player. The problem is that the Real Audio folks are simply too greedy to figure this out. …and it will be the un-doing of that company.

This is so simple. MS just makes the media player…but YOU ARE free to create, or download, or install any codec you please. MS can NEVER compete with the variety and diversity of the codecs that exist out there. (and, I think this is great, since it is REALLY stupid to have 20 different players on my computer. Is this really what the ECU wants?

Again, you are free to write software that runs on this windows platform…or you are not!

In talking to MS people, they have repeatedly told me that they do NOT want to get into the virus business. Low mark ups, and it even opens them up to liability issues.

What they planned for longhorn is a bunch of api’s for any virus vendor to use (this is no different then coming out with Direct-X for the graphics cards manufactures. Once again, all the manufacturers welcomed this concept (well, expect for a few stupid graphic card companies that are now long out of business). It is important to realize that with graphics cards, MS does NOT make those cards, but they sure the heck want to make sure there is a good platform for those cards to run on.

There is no real money for MS in graphics cards, or virus software.

So, from the media player, to graphics cards, to virus software, MS can’t really compete with all these companies that make virus software, codecs, or graphics cards.

So, on all accounts from what I seen, heard, and from a platform vendor point of view I will be VERY surprised if ms comes out with their own virus software.

Perhaps, they are being forced to, since users that are VERY careless will start to cost MS lost sales by spreading virus. This could increase support costs, in fact, these costs could very well outweigh the increased costs of MS supplying/including virus software.

Including virus software could also be an issue with reliability, and now that more and more secure computing is going to be done at the OS level. And not much can be done with the current virus scanning concepts (hum, I guess the furniture manufactures long ago gave up trying to get their seats into cars…but that USED to be a lucrative market for furniture folks – my point? Well, the auto industry is mature, and so is software. Some stuff now just needs to be done at the os level as part of the DESIGN).

There may also be an competitive issue with Linux.

We all know that they purchased a virus software company some time ago, but this was simply to get some technology.

I going to watch this issue close. and I will be much surprised if ms comes out with virus software.

And, if they do come out with virus software, then it will be due to market pressures.

Albert D. Kallal
Edmonton, Alberta Canada
kallal@msn.com
http://www.attcanada.net/~kallal.msn

Albert D. Kallal
Thursday, June 17, 2004

The Netscape/Sun/Real recipe:

1. Make crap, buggy, crashing product in an emerging niche
2. Trow a gazillion megabucks marketing campaign at it and give said product away for free to trow up huge barrier to entry and gain large install base.
3. Wait for people to abandon total crap product in favor of reasonable MS tech.
4. Sue Microsoft
5. Profit!!!!
6. Own a governement garanteed Microsoft immume marketshare of promising niche.
7. Finally start work on product to make it less crap to protect against new competitors.

Just me (Sir to you)
Thursday, June 17, 2004

Is this just the XPSP2 thing? There's a video about it on Channel9, and the woman demonstrating stresses a few times how it's built so vendors can plug into it.

Thom Lawrence
Thursday, June 17, 2004

> As a general rule, MS tends to avoid doing things that they
> are not that great at.

Yeah, you mean like operating systems?

old_timer
Thursday, June 17, 2004

Hmm... first they sell virus-prone software, then want to make money by selling anti-virus software.

I think I'm going to go into the business of breeding cockroaches and selling insecticide.

NoName
Thursday, June 17, 2004

$10 says it will be the undead corpse of GeCAD RAV, which they bought. Appropriately enough, a company from Romania.

And of course they killed the Linux version the original company had.

Klodd the Insensitive
Thursday, June 17, 2004

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home