Microsoft Alters Hotmail Security Trend

Security software firm Trend Micro today announced
it had completed a deal with Microsoft to provide virus scanning, protection and cleaning for
its Hotmail Web-based e-mail service.

Under the agreement, the Tokyo-based anti-virus and security software company
will provide Hotmail’s 187 million users with protection whenever they send and
receive e-mail attachments. The software will scan in real-time for the latest
viruses, Trojans and worms, according to Punit Minocha, senior director of business
development at Trend Micro.

“This is the same virus protection technology that has protected users around
the world for a number of years,” he said.

The company’s anti-virus scanning engine will run on Hotmail servers, linking
to virus definition update servers, Minocha said.

Trend Micro, a major player in the computer security markets of Asia, makes
numerous desktop antivirus and content security products, including firewall,
anti-spam and content filtering products.

“MSN is focused on providing a safer online experience for consumers, and we
continue to make investments in this area. We’re pleased to work with Trend Micro,
with its deep antivirus expertise, to expand the email protection of our Hotmail
customers,” said Phil Holden, director of MSN Communication Services at Microsoft,
in a statement.

The move by Redmond was seen in some corners as a blow to Santa Clara-based
security firm McAfee , a Trend Micro competitor, who had provided
the bulk of virus security to Hotmail users since 2000. However, Microsoft officials
announced McAfee will continue to handle virus protection services for its 9
million premium Hotmail members.

Minocha, who said Trend Micro has long been been a mainstay in both the
enterprise and personal PC security markets of Japan, expects the new relationship
to increase the company’s profile in the lucrative North American market.

“We do have a large consumer presence in Japan but have taken a back seat in
North America,” he said. “This is a really big deal for us,” he added.

And Wall Street seems to agree.

The move has had nearly polar effects on both software security vendors’ stock
prices. As news of the agreement reached the street Monday, Trend Micro soared as
much as 14 percent, or $5.39, to $55.87. While McAfee saw its share price fall
more than 8 percent, or $ 2.25, to $26.70.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.