Security

Microsoft to provide security strategy update

CEO Steve Ballmer and security chief Mike Nash are expected to detail Microsoft's security strategy and product plans Thursday.

Senior Microsoft executives on Thursday plan to provide an update on the software maker's security strategy and product plans, including its upcoming enterprise anti-spyware offering, sources said.

Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer and Mike Nash, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Security Business & Technology Unit, are scheduled to discuss the company's "security strategy and product road map" at an event in Munich, Germany, on Thursday morning, a source close to Microsoft said Tuesday.

The event is expected to include more details on Microsoft's upcoming tools to fight spyware in the enterprise, sources familiar with the company's plans said. A Microsoft representative declined to comment for this report.

Ballmer will kick off the media event at a Munich airport hotel with a 20-minute keynote, followed by an overview by Nash of the long-term security strategy at Microsoft and a question-and-answer session, a Microsoft official in Germany said Wednesday.

Microsoft has been testing a consumer version of Windows AntiSpyware since January and has said it would also deliver a version of the product for corporate users that would support enterprise needs such as management and deployment. The company has not yet provided a delivery time for the product.

Spyware is software that is often installed surreptitiously on computers. Typically, spyware generates pop-up ads or keeps track of people's Web-surfing habits. Microsoft acquired spyware-fighting technology with its purchase of security software maker Giant Software in December.

Another closely watched Microsoft product is Windows OneCare, a subscription antivirus and anti-spyware service for consumers. OneCare marks Microsoft's entry into the antivirus space--until now, the domain of specialized vendors such as Symantec, McAfee and Trend Micro.

As with Windows AntiSpyware, however, Microsoft has not committed to a delivery date for the final OneCare product. A broad public beta is planned in the United States later this year, Microsoft has said. The company might provide more details Thursday.

Microsoft has been building its security muscle since launching its Trustworthy Computing Initiative three years ago. The software giant has made several security-related acquisitions, including ID management company Alacris last month and hosted e-mail security provider FrontBridge in July.

While the deals show Microsoft's commitment to security, analysts have criticized the company for not having a clearer and more productive strategy. The company should turn the technologies it picked up into products that customers can use, critics have said.