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(Thanks Eric Howes at SpywareWarrior for the image)

UPDATE: While the news has been that Microsoft downgraded the Claria listing, we have reports now that there are a number of other items that have been downgraded to “Ignore” status, including certain WhenU adware programs, WebHancer and Ezula Toptext. So the Claria downgrade is quite likely part of a bigger picture regarding Microsoft’s listing criteria for adware. Click here.

A post on BroadBand reports by Eric Howes is reporting that a number of Claria programs are set to a default action of “Ignore” in Microsoft Antispyware.

What this means is that while Microsoft Antispyware will still find Claria adware, in most cases, it will have a recommended action of “Ignore” (versus “Quarantine” or “Remove”). I’m not talking cookies, I’m talking the actual adware programs.

As many know, we get antispyware database updates from Microsoft as part of a prior arrangement. So we did a brief check of our database updates from Microsoft, and found the change to “Ignore” occurred on March 31. (We continue to list Claria in our own database with a default action of “Quarantine” as we don’t bother to use the Microsoft threat treatments, only the actual threat data, such as MD5 hashes, file names, etc.)

Note that Hotbar is in their database but is set to “Quarantine”.

At any rate, does this mean that Claria will, in fact, be purchased by Microsoft? Not necessarily. It could mean, however, that the two companies are working together in some other capacity, or that Claria has successfully lobbied Microsoft to change the default action. Or, it’s a simple oversight.

Alex Eckelberry