Microsoft to buy Sybari

Microsoft officials are moving into the virus protection business with an agreement to buy Sybari Software, a provider of anti-virus software.

Company officials are counting on the acquisition to further provide enterprise customers with new solutions to protect them from malicious software. Microsoft officials bought Giant Company Software in December to protect Windows users from spyware and other deceptive software. The purchase of Sybari will aid in protecting messaging and collaboration servers from viruses, worms and spam, Microsoft officials said.

"Enterprise customers face a complex set of attacks through their e-mail and collaboration infrastructure," said Mike Nash, corporate vice president of the Security Business Technology Unit at Microsoft, in a prepared statement.

"Through this acquisition, we're excited to be able to provide customers with a server-level anti-virus solution that delivers advanced file and content-filtering capabilities and the use of multiple scan engines," he said. Nash added that this will give users "the most up-to-date protection possible."

By being embedded within the server infrastructure it protects, Sybari Software provides an additional layer of messaging defense, stopping threats before they reach end users, Microsoft officials said.

In addition, a single Sybari Software product will work with multiple versions of Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Notes. So when users migrate from one version to the next or deploy multiple versions long term, they can achieve lower maintenance and support costs, officials said. Sybari also offers solutions for Microsoft Office SharePoint Portal Server 2003 and Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services.

Terms of the acquisition were not announced. Sybari will maintain all current operations until regulatory approval.

Microsoft's move to strengthen virus protection for messaging and collaboration servers does not mean that enterprise customers won't need e-mail and messaging security solutions that offer a broader range of protection, according to officials at Symantec Corp., a leading provider of security management software. Organizations will still need integrated solutions that include scanning, filtering, archiving and recovery over heterogeneous networks, Symantec officials said.

The Sybari "technology may help Microsoft help their customers more easily integrate antivirus solutions with Exchange, but still requires the scanning engines and support infrastructure from third party antivirus and antispam vendors," according to a statement issued by Symantec officials.

"This acquisition does not provide Microsoft with the security and antivirus response infrastructure necessary to support the virus protection needs of enterprise customers. Detection is only as strong as the best engine plugged into the solution," the Symantec statement reads.

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