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Microsoft: No antivirus product yet

Software giant plans service to protect against viruses, but says it's still studying market.

Microsoft intends to create an antivirus service in the near future, but has not finalized its plans, a company executive said Tuesday.

The comments followed a media report that the company was readying its entry into the virus protection market. However, the software giant has not decided what form its service will take, said Amy Carroll, director of product management for Microsoft's Security Business and Technology Unit.

"Our plan is to make antivirus part of our pay-for product offerings," she said. "But we don't have specific (antivirus) product plans right now."

The comments come almost exactly a year after the company bought some assets of a Romanian antivirus firm, GeCad--a move that set off speculation that the giant was going to turn its attention to dominating the antivirus market.

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While the company's product plans are still in limbo, Carroll stressed that Microsoft is benefiting from the GeCAD purchase. Two tools the software behemoth released to remove the MSBlast and Sasser infections from compromised computers had a great deal of help from GeCAD employees.

"A lot of the expertise that they brought us certainly contributed" to Microsoft's being able to create those tools, she said.

Any antivirus products would compete with offerings from Network Associates' McAfee and Symantec's Norton software.