Microsoft to buy antivirus software maker

Update: Microsoft is to acquire GeCad, a small antivirus vendor, in order to offer Microsoft-branded antivirus protection
Written by Matthew Broersma, Contributor

Microsoft has announced its intention to acquire GeCad Software, a Romanian antivirus technology developer, in order to improve the security in its Windows platform.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but sources have told ZDNet France that Microsoft will pay $10m for the company. The deal would add a team of antivirus experts to Microsoft's stable of developers and give the company the ability to offer antivirus systems across all its products, a spokeswoman said. Security experts from the 100-employee company will also work to make Windows work better with third-party antivirus vendors' products, Microsoft said.

The move is likely to change the competitive landscape for third-party antivirus vendors such as Network Associates and Symantec, and could even raise the spectre of Netscape Communications -- the Internet browser leader that was sidelined when Microsoft bundled its own browser into Windows.

Microsoft said it was planning to acquire GeCad's intellectual property, but would not continue developing the company's products. Microsoft did not say how many of GeCad's employees it intended to retain. The deal must still get regulatory approval.

The GeCad deal arose out of Microsoft's Trustworthy Computing initiative, which is aimed at improving the security track record of Windows.

"Malicious code and worms are a big threat to our customers," said Hilary Wittman, Microsoft's security marketing manager for the UK.

ZDNet France's Jerome Thorel contributed to this report.

For all security-related news, including updates on the latest viruses, hacking exploits and patches, check out ZDNet UK's Security News Section.

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