Microsoft has announced that it plans to release a corporate anti-malware solution dubbed "Microsoft Client Protection" sometime during 2006. (A closed beta is expected to begin before the end of this year) Microsoft is describing MCP as the obvious choice for "anti-spyware tools, comprehensive virus protection and centralized management" for the corporate world. Microsoft corporate VP Mike Nash stressed that MCP is designed to "provide insightful and prioritized reports and alerts to help IT managers focus precious resources on the right security issues."
MCP will make heavy use of technologies acquired by Microsoft over the last few years. The anti-virus component will be derived from one by GeCAD Software, which Microsoft purchased in 2003. The anti-spyware component will make use of a new "Rootkit" detection method, and build on lessons learned from the Microsoft Anti-Spyware program thus far. One can also assume Microsoft will use a "SpyNet" type online community to facilitate rapid responses to malware outbreaks.
This represents a serious threat to traditional security providers like TrendMicro and Symantec. In essence Microsoft is creating a unified product that is sure to be completely customizable and deployable through native Windows management tools. (Microsoft mentions WSUS and Active Directory by name in their press release) This announcement is clearly a big part of Bill Gates push to "improve security and safety for all our customers -- consumers and businesses, regardless of size -- through a balance of technology innovation, guidance and industry leadership."