Trend Micro snaps up anti-spyware maker

Spends $15 million on InterMute, which makes software to combat programs that record keystrokes and snoop on data.

Trend Micro, the world's third-biggest computer security software maker, on Tuesday said it is buying anti-spyware company InterMute for $15 million, to bolster the security of its own products.

InterMute, a privately held company based in Braintree, Mass., specializes in building anti-spyware programs that try to prevent malicious programs from snooping for data on computers and recording a user's keystrokes, which can be used for stealing passwords and personal account information.

Tokyo-based Trend Micro, which has traditionally prided itself on building its products internally, said it expected the deal to close in around 30 days.

InterMute's technology will supplement Trend Micro's own anti-spyware software offering.

An integrated anti-spyware product from InterMute, which has 35 employees, and Trend Micro is expected in the second half of 2005, said Trend Micro, which trails Symantec and McAfee in the antivirus software industry.

In April, Trend Micro issued a faulty security update that caused IT workers around the world to spend hours, if not days, getting systems up and running again.

The Japanese company got about 10 percent of its total 2004 revenues from its anti-spyware offering and expects that portion to rise in 2005, said Lane Bess, the company's North America president.

Bess declined to provide a specific projection on how much more the company expects its anti-spyware products to generate as a portion of total revenue in 2005.

Story Copyright © 2005 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.

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