Rivals mock Microsoft's free security software

Symantec, Trend Micro diss Security Essentials as a poor product with no future

Although one of the top consumer security vendors welcomed Microsoft's Security Essentials to the market, another dismissed the new free software as a "poor product" that will "never be up to snuff."

Earlier today, Microsoft launched Security Essentials , its free antivirus and antispyware software suite, which has been in development for almost a year.

"I think it's a good thing that they're in the market," said Carol Carpenter, the general manager of Trend Micro's consumer division. "We look forward to the competition ... and I think Microsoft's targeting of developing countries and the unprotected is a good approach."

Microsoft has pitched Security Essentials, which replaced the now-defunct for-a-fee Windows OneCare, as basic software suitable for users who can't, or won't, pay for security software.

Not everyone, however, agreed with Carpenter.

"Security Essentials won't change anything," said Jens Meggers, Symantec's vice president of engineering. "Microsoft has a really bad track record in security," he added, ticking off several ventures into consumer security that the giant has tried, including Windows Defender, an anti-spyware tool bundled with Windows Vista and Windows 7; the released-monthly Malicious Software Removal Tool; and OneCare.

"Like OneCare, Security Essentials is a poor product," said Meggers. "It has very average detection rates. And now they've decided to go for the free market, but that's a very crowded market. There's not much room to grow there."

In a company blog, another Symantec employee called Security Essentials a "rerun" of OneCare , and said: "At the end of the day, Microsoft Security Essentials is a rerun no one should watch."

It's no surprise that top-tier security vendors like Trend Micro and Symantec dismissed Security Essentials today. They did the same thing last year, when Microsoft announced the upcoming demise of OneCare and said it would ship a free, streamlined product. At the time, a Symantec executive said it was a capitulation by Microsoft, which was tacitly admitting it couldn't compete .

But Meggers' take today was even more bearish. "We don't like the notion of 'basic,'" he said. "That makes me very worried, because the risk on the Web today is far too high for 'basic.' Tossing a bunch of little basic tools into the computing environment doesn't make it safe."

Even Carpenter had some unkind words for Microsoft. "It's better to use something than to use nothing, but you get what you pay for," she said. "But I don't think it will worry the main security vendors. If I were a free, focused security company, trying to get my upsell over time, like AVG [Technologies], then I'd be concerned."

Symantec's Meggers also wondered what took Microsoft so long to come up with Security Essentials. "It takes them an entire year to remove features from OneCare, to make something even worse than OneCare?" Meggers asked. "I could have done that with three developers in three months."

And that's a good clue that Microsoft won't be able to keep up with the likes of Symantec, Trend Micro and McAfee, Meggers added. "Look how long it took them to build it. Security needs constant innovation. When was the last time that Microsoft innovated?"

The free Security Essentials can be downloaded for Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7 from the Microsoft Web site.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags symantectrend microMicrosoft's Security Essentials

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?