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Microsoft Acquires Sybari, what's next?

Alexander Zammit

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Alexander Zammit has been developing server applications for over 15 years. Most of his works involve Exchange integrated applications, including a FAX server, a mail security product and anti-spam products.

  • Published: Feb 16, 2005
  • Category: General
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Microsoft's acquisition of Sybari is certainly the hottest news for February so far. It is no secret, Microsoft is moving into the security market. The acquisitions of anti-virus vendor GeCAD, the anti-spyware Giant Company Software and now Sybari all seem to be pieces of the same puzzle.

Microsoft's acquisition of Sybari is certainly the hottest news for February so far. It is no secret, Microsoft is moving into the security market. The acquisitions of anti-virus vendor GeCAD, the anti-spyware Giant Company Software and now Sybari all seem to be pieces of the same puzzle.

Sybari is an important provider of mail security for the MS Exchange platform. Its product range focuses on message hygiene including anti-virus and anti-spam protection. Antigen, Sybari's security product, is in direct competition with McAfee's GroupShield and Symantec's Mail Security. Following GeCAD's acquisition, many speculated that MS was on the way to compete with the big security vendors, tapping into the desktop anti-virus subscriptions services. Sybari's acquisition re-proposes this prospect at a server level.

It seems natural that Sybari is now immediately going to attract more customer attention. An Exchange organization deploying message hygiene software will not ignore the fact that what Sybari is selling today, is likely to become an integral part of Exchange tomorrow. This would be inline with the "better together" logic coupling Microsoft products.

It is interesting to note that Sybari's Antigen relies on anti-virus engines from other vendors including Computer Associates, Kaspersky Labs, Norman Data Defense, Sophos and Virus Buster. Antigen acts as a platform enabling the integration of various anti-virus engines. Microsoft identified this characteristic as one reason for choosing Sybari. So a natural evolution will be to see the GeCAD anti-virus plugged in as well.

It will be very interesting to see how Microsoft's offering will take shape. We already saw Microsoft offering the anti-spam Intelligent Message Filter as a free add-on to Exchange 2003. Will something similar happen, or will it keep the products separate? We all know that MS has a big challenge in convincing customers to upgrade. So including the product with the next Exchange version could make sense.

Another interesting issue will be to see what will happen of the anti-spam offerings of Sybari. MS already has the Intelligent Message Filter. Hence in the long term keeping both technologies sounds unlikely. Finally we will need to see what will happen of the integration with non-Microsoft technology such as Lotus Domino. It is hard to imagine Microsoft giving Lotus Domino equal opportunities...

References

Press Release - Microsoft to Acquire Enterprise Anti-Virus Security Provider Sybari Software - February 08, 2005

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