On Tuesday at the RSA Conference, Bill G. announced that their antispyware product would be free. However, he did say that the enterprise version would cost money.
I would expect that this new product would be available in the summer/fall, possibly included in the new IE 7. It is unknown at this point whether or not this new product will support platforms other than 2000 and XP (which is what the current beta of MS Antispyware supports).
IMHO, it is doubtful that Microsoft’s free product will be able to get all the spyware. It will also be the target of hackers (as we’ve recently seen ). Furthermore, MS will be faced with the same legal threats from adware vendors that all of us in the spyware business have been faced with. That may very well force them to take out certain programs from the removal database that should, in fact, be considered adware/spyware.
This still leaves plenty of room for legitimate companies like Sunbelt to compete. Unlike defragmentation and memory management (two areas where Microsoft has included free products to the detriment of the commercial providers), spyware is not (at least currently) a one-horse game. You need multiple technologies to kill spyware. And I doubt that the MS engine will be capable of getting ALL the spyware. The spyware business has been around for three years, and still, no one product (including ours) can promise 100% detection.
Our course is to continue to improve CounterSpy, to build a world-class product that detects a vast amount of spyware. We get the definitions from Microsoft and then add our own.
On the enterprise side, we are building a solid enterprise antispyware business. But ultimately, CounterSpy and CounterSpy Enterprise will evolve into full threat management products, including antivirus and firewall components (perhaps as a whole new products).