It's a great time to be in the antivirus business. In August, two separate bugs laid low millions of PCs around the world, causing an estimated $2 billion in damage. Both exploited vulnerabilities in Microsoft Corp.'s Windows operating system. And on Sept. 10, Microsoft warned of yet another security hole in Windows that could lead to a new bout of bugs. All that has sent sales of antivirus software soaring. So which company stands to benefit the most from the surging demand for security software? That's right: Microsoft.
The software giant recently closed a deal that could help it dominate consumer antivirus software. On Sept. 3, Microsoft acquired the technology of GeCAD Software, a Romanian software maker, for an undisclosed sum. Analysts expect Microsoft to bundle GeCAD's software with the next iteration of Windows, due out in 2005. That could virtually eliminate competition in the consumer market for antivirus software now dominated by Symantec Corp., Network Associates Inc., and others. Says Laura Koetzle, a senior analyst at Forrester Research Inc.: "Microsoft will eventually monopolize the business."
News source: Business Week