Antivirus Leaders Look to Services for Growth

As Microsoft prepares to launch its next-generation Vista operating system in late November, industry watchers are predicting that the product’s onboard security features will help further commoditize the already crowded antivirus applications business.

Hoping to find new avenues for expanding their companies as Vista emerges and antivirus technologies become available from an ever-growing number of software providers, market leaders Symantec and McAfee are turning toward professional security services to help drive their future expansion.

For more on security issues, see Special Report: Data Security

Both antivirus top dog Symantec, based in Cupertino, Calif., and second-ranked McAfee, of Santa Clara, Calif., have built substantial businesses providing tools that protect organizations against threats that target vulnerabilities in Microsoft’s existing Windows operating systems. Researchers at Boston-based Yankee Group Research chart today’s Windows security aftermarket at roughly $3.6 billion per year.

And while neither firm is ready to concede that Vista will dampen demand for such products, and both Symantec and McAfee argue that Microsoft has yet to prove that it has built a significantly more secure operating system, each is pursuing expanded professional services opportunities as one method of building revenues in other arenas.

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