Microsoft has failed to rebut claims it is planning to charge users to remove spyware from infected versions of Windows
According to a story on CNN's Web site, the software giant's recent acquisition of anti-spyware company GIANT might mean users have to pay in order to benefit from the added security to Microsoft applications.
Microsoft will release a beta version of its anti-spyware tool within the next month. The company said it is inviting customers to install the software, which is designed to run on Windows 2000, XP, and Server 2003, and will then decide on a pricing policy.
Microsoft would not comment directly on the allegations around charging for the new anti-spyware tools, opting instead to release a general statement about distributing the software.
"Our focus now is to get a great tool into the hands of our customers as quickly as possible. The feedback we receive during the beta will help us decide how best to proceed in the future, but at this point we don’t have any firm product plans beyond the beta," the company claimed.
Microsoft's software has been widely criticised for a lack of security. To combat criticism, earlier this year Microsoft released Windows XP SP2, which it said was more secure than earlier operating systems. The company's Web browser, Internet Explorer, which was updated in SP2, has also come under fire for having a plethora of flaws.
At the beginning of 2004, Microsoft declared that its Trustworthy computing initiative would improve its approach to security. On its Web site, the company said, "Microsoft is committed to enabling every customer to work, communicate, and transact business more securely. Behind the global security mobilization announced in October 2003, we will continue toward that goal by working closely with customers, partners, and the industry."