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The Pit BLOG

November 2005

A Closer Look at Anti Spyware Companies

There is no doubt that the lines are being drawn for a galactic cyber battle for control over your PC and your desktop. Spyware and adware companies make barrels of money installing their clandestine applications on your PC without your knowledge. Even for an advanced user, typically the most expedient solution is to install an anti spyware product. This article will take an in depth look at the various anti spyware solutions we have seen at PC Pitstop. During this discussion, the reader should refer to our anti spyware graph from our research section.

Free Anti Spyware

All of the companies that do not have a $, $$, or ? designation are distributing a free anti spyware product. This is great news for users, since they can download any or all of the free products in the event they fall victim to spyware.

But there's a couple of large concerns with free anti spyware solutions. Even today, the spyware companies are racking up huge profits, and they are devising more clever and devious methods to slip their payload onto your PC. In other words, it is a constant and tedious job to track all the new developments in the spyware business. And tracking all of this activity takes money. Unfortunately, since they give their product away, there is little money to invest in spyware research.

Secondly, how does one learn about a free anti spyware product? They have no money to spend on advertising either.

Our research is fairly clear and stark. Since Feb 2005, the free anti spyware products are losing a lot of ground.

The anti spyware companies are very different than anti virus companies. Anti virus companies are fighting an enemy with little financial resources, whereas the opposite is true in the spyware battle. The spyware companies have piles of dough, and the free anti spyware companies are relatively desolute. We see the decline of free anti spyware products to continue as the battle goes on.

Non Free Anti Spyware Companies.

In this category, we include the normal pay applications, but also AOL Spyware Protection, since this is a feature of AOL's pay service. With the exception of Web Root's Spy Sweeper, the good news is that this segment of software is growing nicely. Web Root's product is the only retail product in the entire group sold at popular retail outlets such as Best Buy and Circuit City, whereas all of the other pay products are distributed over the web. It seems that this is a part of an overall shift as consumers and businesses feel more comfortable purchasing software directly from the maker via the web.,

At PC Pitstop, we believe in these companies as a group. If the battle for your desktop is to be won, it will be from the continued efforts and investments of these companies. These companies are fighting the good fight, and when you purchase one of their products, not only are you purchasing a software product, but also an investment in the overall battle to thwart the spyware menace as a whole.

Microsoft AntiSpyware

As in many other categories of software, no conversation is complete without discussing the 800 pound gorilla, Microsoft. Microsoft introduced their beta anti spyware product for free in January 2005, and in short order, they were the third most popular anti spyware product. At that time, I had high hopes that Microsoft would integrate their anti spyware technology into the browser and deal a final and stunning blow to the spyware movement.

However recently, Microsoft announced a new beta program called Microsoft One Care which purports to give comprehensive protection and tuning for your PC. Included in One Care is anti virus, firewall, PC maintenance, and data backup and restore. Noticably absent is any mention of anti spyware. One has to think that they might add anti spyware to One Care when they are closer to their formal launch.

Although it is not clear what Microsoft will do in this area, it is encouraging that a company with incomparable financial resources has thrown its hat in the ring. Whichever way they choose, it will have large verberations thoughout the Spyware Galactica Universe.

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