Tuesday, May 31, 2005

#56 Who will buy Microsoft Antivirus?

Two weeks ago we commented on how Symantec and MacAfee were not all that concerned that Microsoft was entering the AV market, as it was targeted initially at consumers and at their mail gateway and that they (Symantec and McAfee) had a head-start on the enterprise desktop market. This made sense to me since I shared a similar view to someone quoted in the article, namely that "Buying security software from Microsoft is like buying medication from a doctor who has been successfully sued for malpractice."

But it would seem that in spite of all the security dysfunction around Microsoft, the [IT] ecosystem will be willing to try anything it offers. And its marketing and market muscle is not to be underestimated. According to the survey of 100 CIOs' software-buying plans that Forrester Research conducted for the investment bank Credit Suisse First Boston LLC, seven in 10 CIOs surveyed say they'd consider licensing a Microsoft antivirus product. Also according to the article, enterprise resource planning, security, and business intelligence are the year's top spending priorities.

It's too early to determine Microsoft's fate in the enterprise antivirus market, Credit Suisse First Boston says. It could gain a foothold in the market through aggressive pricing. The key will be how it optimizes the link between its security systems and the Windows platform. Still, any impact on other security software vendors will be minimal over the next 12 to 18 months, the report concludes.

I think that if the products are technically good, (and there is every indication that they are) then Microsoft will yield the power of pricing to disintermediate this market. They are big enough, and the AV market is small enough in comparison to the rest of their business, for them to be able to achieve this without blinking.
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