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Microsoft to buy e-mail security firm FrontBridge

Plans to merge FrontBridge's messaging protection with its Exchange Server product to help companies with security and compliance.

Microsoft plans to acquire FrontBridge Technologies, a provider of secure messaging services, taking its push into the security market a step further.

The software giant will integrate FrontBridge's corporate messaging protection with its Microsoft Exchange Server e-mail product, Microsoft said in its announcement Wednesday. The Los Angeles-based security company's services, which include instant message archiving and spam filtering, are designed to safeguard all electronic messages and make sure they are compliant with regulatory requirements such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

"Both companies are focused on solving the same difficult messaging challenge--ensuring customers' e-mail is compliant, better protected from spam and virus threats, and always available," Dave Thompson, vice president in Microsoft's Exchange Server Group, said in a statement.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the transaction is expected to close by the end of the third quarter, a Microsoft representative said.

The FrontBridge deal follows an announcement Microsoft made earlier in the day that it was investing in Finjan Software, a security company that has developed behavior-based software to block viruses and spyware.

The two transactions mark Microsoft's latest moves in the security market. Last February, it announced its acquisition of antivirus maker Sybari software and, last December, it announced its purchase of anti-spyware provider Giant Company Software.

In buying privately held FrontBridge, Microsoft will inherit a spat between that company and MessageOne, an e-mail recovery start-up led by Adam Dell (brother of Michael Dell). MessageOne sued FrontBridge last year, saying the company had breached a memorandum of understanding between the two companies.

A Microsoft representative declined to comment on any issues related to MessageOne.

CNET News.com's Michael Kanellos and Ina Fried contributed to this report.