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Vista May Put Anti-Spyware Companies Out 392

Posted by Zonk
from the getting-ahead-of-ourselves dept.
Ant wrote to mention a C|Net article with an interesting premise: Windows Vista's tough approach to spyware may put anti-spyware companies out of business. From the article: "While this may be good news for buyers of Vista, it is not for anyone who makes a living from selling anti-spyware software. The worldwide market has boomed recently, reaching $97 million in revenue in 2004, up 240.4 percent from a year earlier, according to IDC. However, companies such as Webroot Software and Sunbelt Software are in for tough times, analysts said."
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Vista May Put Anti-Spyware Companies Out

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  • ...well... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BewireNomali (618969) on Saturday March 18, 2006 @05:27PM (#14949575)
    didn't msft put anti-spyware companies into business in the first place?

    msft giveth, msft taketh away.
    • Re:...well... (Score:2, Informative)

      by babbling (952366)
      Rather ungrateful like that, aren't they? I mean, it seems virus-scanner companies and MS have had a long relationship where they needed each other to survive. If virus scanners weren't around, Windows would probably have become unacceptable for a lot of businesses. Similarly, if Windows wasn't crap, virus scanner companies wouldn't have a market to target.

      Now Microsoft is moving into their market, and will be selling both a problem and the solution to that problem. Nice.
      • by Xymor (943922)
        Funny, maybe this could be the new MS motto.
        Microsoft, cleaning after itself. or Microsoft, fixing the problems you didn't have.
    • Re:...well... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Pneuma ROCKS (906002) on Saturday March 18, 2006 @06:09PM (#14949779) Homepage
      I don't think spyware is going anywhere. Just as spam, it's here to stay. Many promises have been made by Microsoft in the past and they've been broken like little dry twigs. Giving them lots of credit, one might think they can eliminate and prevent all current forms of spyware, but there are always new ways, and they are always found. I hope Vista is more secure, but infalible? Not even close.
      • Re:...well... (Score:3, Informative)

        by rtb61 (674572)
        What promises, each version of windows, was more stable and more reliable and more secure than the last one (of course it always has been the just than teensiest bit more, except of course for millenium edition but that had an alternate design goal).

        The only time microsoft software has shown any signs of security it when you run others companies software on top of it, to try and make it more secure.

        • "except of course for millenium edition but that had an alternate design goal"

          So what was the design goal for WindowsME? Give the source code to 1000 monkeys, wait a year, then see what they came up with? :/
      • Re:...well... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by zootm (850416)

        The bottom line is that there's no technical reason that Spyware is more prevalent on any platform other than Windows. It's just a bigger target. With viruses and so on there's at least a technological reason as well as this, but Spyware/Adware aren't something that can be effectively protect against, because in most cases the user agrees to the software.

      • Re:...well... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by jinxidoru (743428) on Sunday March 19, 2006 @05:03AM (#14951383) Homepage
        Realize that the article didn't say that Microsoft Vista was going to put spyware out of business. Rather, it will put anti-spyware software out of business. It's true that spyware will continue to take on new forms. But Vista will probably be updated to handle these new forms in the same way that the current anti-spyware software is constantly being updated. So the question is not whether Vista can beat the spyware companies; it's a question of whether Vista can beat the anti-spyware companies. It's kind of like the old saying that if you and a friend are being chased by a wolf, you only need to be faster than your friend.
    • Re:...well... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      So... Don't stop wars because peace puts the military out of business... Don't use alternative energy resources because it puts oil companies out of business... Don't use alternative healing methods because it puts pharmaceutical companies out of business... Don't drop any laws because it could put lawyers out of business... Hey, none of them could have ever anticipated that things could change for the better... Better let millions suffer than let a few become less rich... NOT!
  • Just Fair (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Zo0ok (209803) on Saturday March 18, 2006 @05:28PM (#14949579) Homepage
    If you are in business just because another company sells crappy products to lots of people you dont deserve to stay in business forever.
    • Re:Just Fair (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ZeroExistenZ (721849) on Saturday March 18, 2006 @05:50PM (#14949701)
      It's called opportunism and demand for a service.

      There's no "deserve" in doing business and trying to meet a demand in order to make money off of it.
      • Yea, it's sorta like worrying about a cure for AIDS putting pharmacutical companies producing current treatments out of business. Business should be secondary to progress.
      • Re:Just Fair (Score:5, Insightful)

        by TubeSteak (669689) on Saturday March 18, 2006 @09:07PM (#14950450) Journal
        There's no "deserve" in doing business and trying to meet a demand in order to make money off of it.
        Tell that to the natural gas companies.

        Their rates are regulated by the state, so they basically work out a rate that includes costs + profit.

        If demand goes up, so do prices
        If demand goes down, guess what happens.

        Yep, prices go up. Why? Because they aren't making their agreed upon level of profit. It's a fairly cushy deal.

        Be glad MS isn't truly a monopoly, cause if they were, they'd be regulated & their profit margin would be enshrined in law.
    • Or rather, you deserve to be in business only so long as the other company makes crappy products.
  • by NitsujTPU (19263) on Saturday March 18, 2006 @05:28PM (#14949582)
    How dare Microsoft enhance the security of their product, putting poor companies that thrive on the shortcomings of Windows out of business?!?!

    I, guess?
    • Yeah, Windows Defender will be so much better than all the other programs people use, just like their firewall for XP, right?
      • Re:How dare they! (Score:5, Informative)

        by jacksonj04 (800021) <nick@nickjackson.me> on Saturday March 18, 2006 @06:33PM (#14949897) Homepage
        Actually, OneCare is pretty good. And from what I've seen in the Vista CTPs the security model is actually a damn sight better than before. Stability is phenominal as well, it took a whole 12 seconds to make it fall over (Video driver issue if you must know, Safe Mode is solid as a rock).
      • Re:How dare they! (Score:3, Informative)

        by Tim C (15259)
        The XP firewall works fine for blocking incoming connections and server processes, all it really lacks is egress filtering.

        Besides, I thought that the argument was that if something is bundled with/in Windows, no-one will bother to seek out an alternative? That's got to be the case, right, I mean, IE is still the most commonly-used browser...
    • My guess would be that they won't, but they might make it impossible to install anti-spyware, by having a built-in spyware program that will remove or malfunction any other anti-spyware program you'd like to install.
    • Re:How dare they! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mrchaotica (681592) on Saturday March 18, 2006 @06:28PM (#14949871)
      Not quite. It's more like "how dare Microsoft charge extra for a workaround instead of fixing the shortcomings in the first place for free, like companies in every other industry (such as the auto industry) would be forced to do?!"
      • Re:How dare they! (Score:3, Insightful)

        by drsmithy (35869)
        It's more like "how dare Microsoft charge extra for a workaround instead of fixing the shortcomings in the first place for free, like companies in every other industry (such as the auto industry) would be forced to do?!"

        Almost all malware exploits shortcomings in the user, not the software.

  • erm (Score:5, Funny)

    by BitterAndDrunk (799378) on Saturday March 18, 2006 @05:29PM (#14949587) Homepage Journal
    I thought it was still running Internet Explorer?
  • Analysis (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jaymzter (452402) on Saturday March 18, 2006 @05:29PM (#14949588) Homepage
    Every version of windows since Windows NT was supposed to be better and more secure. Unfortunately that wasn't the case as we all know. How about we hold off on the hyperbole until Vista ships one of these days and we see how it actually works, not how some marketdroid claims it will.
  • by bluemeep (669505) <bluemeep AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday March 18, 2006 @05:29PM (#14949593) Homepage
    For every unstoppable wall of protection, some jackass'll find a way around it. It's only a matter of time.
  • by JeffSh (71237) <<gro.0m0m> <ta> <todhsalsffej>> on Saturday March 18, 2006 @05:30PM (#14949594)
    i don't care.

    any company based on fixing something that shouldn't of happened in the first place has a fundamentally flawed business plan anyway.

    if a company is founded based on the idea of eliminating something, then the business plan needs to take into account the chances of the company achieving its goal... eliminating things... or the need for it to eliminate anything becoming unnecessary.

    im sorry, but i really don't care.
    • flawed? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Khashishi (775369) on Saturday March 18, 2006 @05:39PM (#14949641) Journal
      Just because it can't be expected to last, doesn't mean it's flawed. Businesses need to adapt, and if a market for fixing broken products opens, it's sensible to meet that market before it goes away (so long as they don't spend too much in NRE).
    • This happens a lot in politics, for example. See the modern versions of NAACP, NOW, MADD...
      • Re:Other areas too (Score:2, Insightful)

        by jmorris42 (1458) *
        > This happens a lot in politics, for example. See the modern versions of NAACP, NOW, MADD...

        With the same result. Long after the original problem is solved the organization lives on, never able to just claim victory and disolve. Does anyone thing lowering blood alchol levels yet again will further reduce drunk driving deaths? Nope, but the only things government action could do aren't politically possible and MADD can't just admit that and pick a new cause to crusade for. The NOW gang long ago won e
    • fundamental flaw? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Danathar (267989)
      The business plan may be wrong (unethical) but as to wrong, well they are STILL the dominant OS vendor. I have yet to see anything that MS has done wrong with windows SIGNIFICANTLY affect their market share.

      As bad as windows has been and may continue to be, unless people can't play their games or surf the web I seriously doubt any problem in Vista will slow it's sales.
  • by linguizic (806996) on Saturday March 18, 2006 @05:30PM (#14949595)
    The only thing microsoft is tough on is stains, though oh so gentle on carpet. Wait, that's Bissel. That's right MS is tough on network administrators.
  • I have a hard time feeling sympathy for anti-spyware companies. I mean, if crime ended tomorrow, the police would have to get different jobs. It is unfortunate, but it's a small price to pay compared to the benefits. And it's not like Americans would throw the resulting money away, we'd spend it on something else, so the overall economy shouldn't suffer.
  • by khasim (1285)

    "The spyware threat will definitely shrink or shrivel" as Vista gets adopted, said John Pescatore, an analyst with Gartner. "We got a handle on spam. It still gets through, but it is such a small percentage now, we know how to deal with what gets through. That same thing will happen to spyware. It will be under control."

    Yeah, great. So Microsoft will "fix" spyware as well as they've "fixed" spam.

    I don't see SpamAssassin fading away any time soon. So I wouldn't put any bets on on spyware companies (anti- o

  • slownewsday (Score:3, Funny)

    by Janek Kozicki (722688) on Saturday March 18, 2006 @05:32PM (#14949608) Journal
    that's where slownewsday tag comes handy :)
  • MS Anti SpyWare Beta 1 has been good to me. I like the Advanced Tools too!

    I've recently downloaded MS Defender [microsoft.com], which I take it is the new moniker for their antispyware programme. Cross checking MS antispyware against LavaSoft has caught only one piece of spyware MS antispyware missed.

    So, as infrequently as I say it, Good on you MicroSoft!

  • Who broke my window? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Realistic_Dragon (655151) on Saturday March 18, 2006 @05:34PM (#14949617) Homepage
    This is known as the Browk Window theory in Economics - that is, by running around breaking windows I create work for glaziers.

    In actual fact were the windows not being broken the resources could be put to better use elsewhere - the time of the labourer and the money spent could be used to grow the economy rather than in the mantainance of existing infrastructure which is an activity that adds zero to the bottom line.

    In this case not needing spyware companies will allow the workers and the capital emplyed to go and do something more efficent, in economic terms... such as innovating new and better spyware, seeing as how well Microsoft's other security related announcements have worked out :)
  • by KenDodd (961972) on Saturday March 18, 2006 @05:36PM (#14949626) Homepage
    Do they mean the same way that SQL Server put Oracle out? And Windows 200 killed Linux? Come, come - what utter twaddle. The "spyware/piss-you-off-ware" concocters will just shift paradigm.
  • Well, even free anti-crudware wasn't able to put paid for anti-crudware companies out of business and why would miscreants suddenly stop writing crudware anyway?

    Why stop now, just when I'm hating it?
  • when I see it.

    Microsoft has been promising the moon and been delivering old moldy cheese for years. This sounds like a thinly veiled advertisement for MS - is anybody really going to cry that they don't have to run x+1 spyware detectors anymore?

    But, MS has been reluctant to close all the holes in their system due to backwards compatibility, I believe? Things like ActiveX, that leave holes open for abuse. How did they get around this?
    • by khasim (1285)
      Any "article" that quotes this guy is nothing but marketing:

      Every new version of Windows offers some security improvements, but Vista more so, said Rob Enderle, an analyst with the Enderle Group. "Vista, because it was pretty much conceived during the toughest times for Microsoft with regards to malicious software, has the most protection in it compared to any of their platforms," he said.

      Every version of Windows has been "conceived during the toughest times for Microsoft with regards to malicious softwar

      • Plus the headline is concluding something much too optimistic from the improvements described in detail by the article itself:

        Microsoft is taking a multipronged approach to fight spyware. Unlike XP, Vista will run by default with fewer user privileges. People will have to invoke full, "administrator," privileges to perform tasks such as installing an application.

        Also, Internet Explorer 7, included with Vista, will prevent silent installs of malicious code by stopping the browser from writing data anywhere e
  • ...and that's because I'll have to.

    OK, MS, you've got security licked. Now about this paying my firstborn Windows and then again for Office, licensing, EULA issues and this bit about being forced to register my software and not being able to swap out stuff on my box without calling you guys?

    Nah, it's still a pass.
    • Parent has a good point.. what does it matter what MS does for spyware? The rest of their draconian practices will still ensure that it doesn't stop spyware because people won't use it, no matter how good it is. Upgrading to Vista is not just a software upgrade, for myself and many others, its a hardware upgrade too. EVEN if I did run MS products at home, I still wouldn't get any value from antispyware in Vista LOLOLOL Sounds like more PR spin to make it seem worth the extra hardware costs and giving away y
  • Not.

    While SP2 did a good job of doing the bare minimums (root/admin demotion and forcing firewalling), Microsoft has consistently demonstrated a casual approach to security, despite their claims to the contrary.

    Don't short Symantec stock (but perhaps do it to McAfee if they continue to send out virus identifications that include Excel) or any of the rest. People will get email viruses, port 80/surfing bugs, and a myriad of other problems with Vista. It's been already demonstrated that the kernel code delta
  • Just like Windows95 Put AntiVirus companies out of business because Win95 was the end to Viruses. Don't people remember anything anymore ? This is called "marketing"
  • Not if you don't buy it.
    The purchases you make/don't make today, form the options we have tomorrow.
  • Windows is just a big open target. Even if Vista patches every single hole; xp, 2000, nt40, nt3.51 ME 98 and 95 are still totally open and vulnerable to attack because the products have been end of lifed.

    Truth is, a lot of people still use the outdated O/S's. There is tons of excuses why they do, everything from "it runs better" to "I don't want MS peeking in my nono spot" to "my old programs won't run on the new systems"

    So these old O/S's will still supply sustainable income for the anti spyware compa
    • Vista will still be a major target for spyware makers though because it will have a large install base. I doubt MS will be able to continuously keep up with the spywares creators.

      In theory, they could just fix the core problem and the spyware would vanish as the old Microsoft OS's were replaced by newer ones.

      But, from TFA:

      Microsoft is taking a multipronged approach to fight spyware. Unlike XP, Vista will run by default with fewer user privileges. People will have to invoke full, "administrator," privile

  • At least not anytime soon, though it will limit some of their market. How many people are still running Win95, 98, ME, and 2000?

    Now, maybe Microsoft Defender/Antispyware might do it, since those run on older MS OS's.
  • Microsoft, first of all, has very intimite details on every possible attack vector to their OS (even if they will never be able to code them closed without completely rewriting the entire OS). They also have statistics, i would assume, from every Billy Bob Computer User calling them to complain about "windows popping up trying to sell me webcams". They are at a distinct advantage here. Of course the other anti-spyware companies are screwed.
    • They are at a distinct advantage here. Of course the other anti-spyware companies are screwed.

      Microsoft have one big handicap: belief in their product. This is the real reason why the "many eyes finds bugs" approach of OSS works well. Its not the number of people its the fact that people who have no stake in the product can go out and find the bugs.

  • Existence of anti-(insert pest name) software company is inevitable. To expect otherwise is to expect perfection where none exists. Certainly Vista will make anti-pest software business environment more ... challenging. But till Microsoft achieve perfection, that market segment is not going away, not by a long shot.
  • It's not too surprising. For Vista to keep a clean system clean is a much easier task than cleaning up messed up systems of spyware. There are only a handful of places that spyware can insert itself -- the various startup folders, registry keys, services, drivers etc. Vista doesn't have to recognize the individual spyware, it just has to flag suspicious changes that aren't digitally signed by known companies and then provide a good interface for the end user to disable (or renable) them. Somewhat like
  • Not that I care as Linux user, but since when does MS make secure stuff?

    I predict the oposite, I think that more than one virus will be propegated the week that Vista comes out.

    I think that the security companies will have a booming time with Vista.

    MS's business structure and ethics can't allow security to work, ever.
  • I can't believe the tone people are taking here against anti-spyware companies. There was a profile of the makers of Spybot S&D here in German TV last week. They started it because they were sick of spyware. These are the people who made the products that are helping a lot of people who got infected because they used sucky MS products. (Linux trolls be quiet, a high percentage of people can't even handle Windows, how would they survive with Linux). But somehow they're being portrayed as evil, money-hung
    • But the fucks that buy your good running anti spyware do not share your feelings...
      Most anti virus and spyware companies are businesses where making money is the one and only interest, anti spyware is just a vehicle.

      Why do people like you fail to understand these facts of life.
      Wake up to the real world where almost nobody likes their job and ony are into it for the money.
      People like the makers of Spybot S&D are a very small minority light in our world of darkness.

      b.t.w. Us Linux trolls can handle Window
  • by Aphrika (756248) on Saturday March 18, 2006 @06:10PM (#14949788)
    ...sorry to be an ignoramus, but who?

    As far as I'm concerned, if M$ are closing holes that shouldn't really be there, that's a Good Thing (tm).

    I mean, these same spyware companies don't make a mint off other OSes do they, so why should they piggy-back a specific one? Isn't that essentially making money from a weakness? And if the weakness is removed, well... game over I guess, until M$ falls at the next hurdle and people make cash out of it. I mean, Mr. Norton seems to have had it quite easy for a while now...
  • by Jugalator (259273) on Saturday March 18, 2006 @06:12PM (#14949799) Journal
    As for Windows security, I honestly think there should be exceptions of what Microsoft can bundle or not to maintain a good security. Yes, one can joke all day about security problems requiring tools like these in the first place, but Windows is a common OS, a huge hacker target, and now that this is the situation, I think MS should be allowed to include these kind of tools as an exception to software competition regulations.

    I really don't mind if Microsoft would similarly put Windows antivirus companies "out of business" either. Yes, sucks to be them, but security is among the most important aspects of an operating system, and as important to me when I use an OS as basically the GUI itself.
  • Well, duh! (Score:3, Informative)

    by Dracos (107777) on Saturday March 18, 2006 @06:26PM (#14949865)

    Microsoft created the need for these companies to exist. The near destruction of that need is a side effect of MS finally learning that security is part of the development process.

    But as long as there is Windows, there will be a need for 3rd party Windows security software.

  • doubtful (Score:2, Insightful)

    by kuyaedz (921036)
    My prediction is that Vista is going to be just as shitty as all the rest of their releases. They wont put spyware-companies out of business.. they didn't with XP, and they wont with Vista. This is just another bloated "full of features!" release--more shit people dont need.
  • by mr_tommy (619972) *
    Windows 2k, Xp, et al, still exist. And Microsoft drops support for them in the few years, so surely more $$$ for companies like this, no?
  • It's not like every copy of Windows will be upgraded to Vista overnight. And from what I've heard so far, there will be plenty of reasons *not* to upgrade (DRM, etc).

    What's more, it's stupid to simultaneously underestimate the resourcefulness of the spyware industry, underestimate user stupidity, and overestimate Microsoft's likelyhood of success in this area.

    So no, Vista is not a threat to the anti-spyware business.
  • MS is spam pimpin (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mrmeval (662166) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [lavemrm]> on Saturday March 18, 2006 @08:03PM (#14950260) Journal
    I don't think they need to worry one bit. I can't see MS as being competent to thwart spyware.
  • Familiar Strategy (Score:3, Informative)

    by Greyfox (87712) on Saturday March 18, 2006 @08:34PM (#14950352) Homepage Journal
    Microsoft always announces that their next version of Windows will solve the hot problem of the day, and they always come up short and ship late. Back in the day Windows was going to have multitasking. Then Windows 95 was going to have preemptive multitasking and a spiffy user interface like OS/2. Then Windows 98 was really going to have preemptive multitasking and a spiffy interface like OS/2. Then Windows 2000 was really (And we mean it this time) going to have preemptive multitasking and a spiffy interface like OS/2. Then Windows XP was going to solve all the stability and security problems and have a spiffy interface like OS/2. Now Windows Vista will solve all the stability and security problems and have a spiffy interface like OS/2... I mean, OSX.

    So yeah, Vista will solve all the spyware and virus problems, we promise, please don't buy a Mac in the mean time!

  • by Stephen Samuel (106962) <samuel&bcgreen,com> on Saturday March 18, 2006 @08:56PM (#14950416) Homepage Journal
    If it runs on Vista, it can't be spyware -- no matter what it does to your computer, you must have asked for it somehow or other.

    It looks like most spyware from larger companies is going to be replaced by DRM that you're not allowed to remove (under the EULA).

  • by QuestorTapes (663783) on Saturday March 18, 2006 @10:36PM (#14950640)
    Gosh, it's great to live here in Pleasantville, where things are just so darn KEEN!

    It's about time MS used their overwhelming security expertise to address this pressing problem!. Gosh knows, now that:

    - NT 3.1 solved all the BSOD problems...
    - Windows 2000 given us perfectly stable drivers that never fail...
    - we have a flawless and simple system for authenticode verification to prevent all those darned pirates and their stolen copies of Windows...
    - and a rock solid browser like IE 6 with none of those silly security defects found in (shudder) DOWNLEVEL browsers like FireFox and Opera...

    All we've been waiting for is MS to put the last bricks in the wall of total user trust and security with flawless DRM and anti-spyware!

    Kudos to the Bill G and the brave, fighting lads at MS for their continuous and unflagging dedication to providing a rock-solid security combo of Win95-compatible OS, ActiveX-enabled Browser, and integrated VBA-enabled Office applications, that makes third-party anti-virus, anti-trojan, firewall, backup, and other rip-offs completely unecessary!

    Yeah! And now I'm off to meet the ghost of John Lennon on his magic Yellow Submarine for a late night trip to visit Narnia!

    Just how F**KING STUPID are these reporters, anyway?
  • StarForce installs special drivers that allow user-level code to jump to System level [glop.org]. (That's even higher than Administrator, BTW.) Why does anyone think they'd do anything different in Vista? Malware will just find these kind of holes, and exploit them. And those holes will exist because even semi-legit software companies want them to.

I am not now, nor have I ever been, a member of the demigodic party. -- Dennis Ritchie

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