Microsoft Acquires Anti-Spyware Leader GIANT Company
New Offerings Will Help Customers Keep Spyware and Other Deceptive Software Off Their ComputersMicrosoft Corp. announced that it has acquired GIANT Company Software Inc., a provider of anti-spyware and Internet security products. Microsoft will use property and technology assets from the acquisition to provide Microsoft Windows customers with tools to help protect them from the threat of spyware and other deceptive software. In addition, key personnel from GIANT Company will be joining Microsoft’s security efforts.
“Spyware is a serious and growing problem for PC users, and customers have made it clear that they want Microsoft to deliver effective solutions to protect against the threat,” said Mike Nash, corporate vice president of the Security Business and Technology Unit at Microsoft. “Through this acquisition we’re excited to be able to provide near-term relief to Windows customers by offering new technology to help keep spyware and other deceptive software off their PCs.”
Microsoft plans to make available to Windows customers a beta version of a spyware protection, detection and removal tool, based on the GIANT AntiSpyware product, within one month. The upcoming beta will scan a customer’s PC to locate spyware and other deceptive software threats and enable customers to remove them. The tool will be configurable to block known spyware and other unwanted software from being installed on the computer. It will be available for Microsoft Windows 2000 and later versions.
Spyware is an emerging breed of malicious software that can range from unwanted pop-up ads to unseen programs that record keystrokes or take over a person’s PC. Spyware and other unwanted software can slow PC performance, change a computer’s configuration and steal passwords and personal information. A November 2004 IDC study estimated that 67 percent of consumer PCs are infected with some form of spyware.
Terms of the acquisition were not announced. Details of the Microsoft solution beyond the planned beta, including product plans, pricing and a timeline for delivery, are not yet available. The anti-spyware technology will complement the security features available in Windows XP Service Pack 2 to provide a higher level of protection for Web browsing and other Internet computing activities. Microsoft recommends that customers use an anti-spyware solution in addition to using Internet firewall on all PCs, updating all PCs regularly with the latest security updates, and using up-to-date antivirus software.