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Windows AntiSpyware Becomes Windows Defender

In late 2004, Microsoft purchased GIANT Company Software and acquired its industry-leading antispyware product. Since that time, Microsoft Windows AntiSpyware (as the product has been known) has been in perpetual beta. This week, we learn that the new release of the product will be named Windows Defender, but there is still no mention of a release date.

Windows Defender will contain substantial changes to the Windows AntiSpyware beta version. In addition to the spyware detection and removal technologies, Windows Defender will include other malware detection and removal features and will run as a service, giving it lower-level access to the OS.

"What's really cool about this name is that it's more positive than 'Windows AntiSpyware,'" says Microsoft group program manager Jason Garms. "Windows Defender is about what Windows will do for customers, defending them from spyware and other unwanted software. Our solution has really been about more than just the standard definition of 'spyware'. We've always said we will provide visibility and control, as well as protection, detection, and removal from other potentially unwanted software, including root kits, keystroke loggers, and more."

A version of Windows Defender will be included in Windows Vista (due in late 2006), and Microsoft says that it continues to plan for a free Windows Defender version that will be made available to Windows XP users.

The question, of course, is when. With Windows Vista hurtling toward a Beta 2 release in December, Microsoft has been focusing on the version of Windows Defender that will be included with that product, causing development of the Windows XP version to lag.

But Microsoft might have bigger problems than delays. According to a report in the "Seattle Post-Intelligencer," the Windows Defender name was already being used by an Australian developer, Adam Lyttle. His Windows Defender product protected Windows users from malicious Web sites. Adam Lyttle told the Post-Intelligencer's Todd Bishop that Microsoft contacted him a month ago, charging him with infringing on the Windows trademark but neglecting to mention that the software giant wanted to use the "Windows Defender" name. Lyttle subsequently signed over rights to the name to Microsoft and was "shocked" when he later learned the company intended to use the name for one of its own products. To read the complete article, use the following link:

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