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Webroot disses Microsoft on spyware defense
Published: 2007-01-25

Anti-spyware firm Webroot Software criticized rival Microsoft's Windows Defender tool on Thursday, saying that the application failed to block 84 percent of a sampling of spyware programs.

Webroot, whose $30 SpySweeper application competes with Microsoft's free anti-spyware product, also claimed the software giant updated the product far slower than some competitors' software, including the security firm's own anti-spyware tool. The company labeled the issues "weaknesses."

"We understand that Microsoft’s main goal is to provide a new operating system that generally improves users’ computing environments, and we genuinely feel that Windows Vista accomplishes this," Gerhard Eschelbeck, chief technology officer for Webroot, said in a statement. "However, as a company that serves on the front lines in the battle against spyware and cybercrime, we feel strongly that in order to provide the best protection for Internet users, security must be your top–and only–priority."

Webroot is the latest security firm to take Microsoft to task after the software giant entered the security marketplace. Both McAfee and Symantec--the owner of SecurityFocus--have taken aim at Microsoft's Windows OneCare service which offers antivirus protection as well as perceived anti-competitive security measures, such as kernel patch protection.

In a statement sent to SecurityFocus, Microsoft defended its anti-spyware product, which is offered free to users of Windows XP, Windows 2003 and Windows Vista.

"Our customers have made it clear that spyware and other potentially unwanted software represents a major problem and they want Microsoft to deliver effective solutions," the company said in the statement. "Microsoft is firmly committed to improving our customers' experiences on the Internet and, to that end, we're offering Windows Defender to combat spyware and other deceptive software, and we are confident in its ability to make the user's computing experience a safer one."

The criticism comes the week before Microsoft launches its latest operating system, Windows Vista, which includes a number of security enhancements. Webroot did not release further data about its testing methodology.

Posted by: Robert Lemos
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