Microsoft Client Protection Slated To Ship In 2006

Dubbed Microsoft Client Protection, the software will offer antivirus, antispyware and antimalware protection in an integrated package designed for IT administrators that oversee corporate networks, said Paul Bryan, director of product management in Microsoft's enterprise access and security products division.

"It's for desktops, laptops and file servers," Bryan said. The product will protect basic file servers, but e-mail and application servers are better served by Microsoft's Frontbridge managed security services, he added.

Microsoft Client Protection would compete directly with corporate security software from Symantec and McAfee. Microsoft isn&t guaranteeing the product&s release for next year and has set 2006 only as a target shipping timetable. The Redmond, Wash.-based software giant first said it would offer an enterprise antivirus product two years ago.

Developed under the code name "Jamaica," Microsoft Client Protection would be installed on-premise, deployed by administrators to user desktops and updated via the Microsoft Update Service.

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Like the Windows OneCare service that Microsoft now offers consumers and small businesses, the Microsoft Client Protection offering for larger companies and enterprises would be sold by subscription per user or per device on an annual basis, and updates would be delivered directly from Microsoft. The company declined to provide a price range expected for the finished product. Plans call for the product to be delivered through Microsoft's traditional channel.

A key difference from Windows OneCare will be packaging. Bryan said Microsoft Client Protection initially will be offered as a product and perhaps as a managed service later on. "We are looking at ways to do that, but this is the product version," he said.

Windows OneCare is designed for overall PC health and includes performance and backup capabilities. Microsoft Client Protection includes antimalware and antispyware technology acquired from GeCAD and Giant Software, as well as changes and capabilities that Microsoft built from the ground up, Bryan said.