For once, Microsoft "anti-competitive" practice really is a benefit

Delivering updates and virus signatures via Windows Update makes good sense.


Trend Micro is complaining that Microsoft offering updates to its surprisingly good Microsoft Security Essentials antivirus application is uncompetitive.


 Computerworld's Preston Gralla gives a good rundown of the history and situation, which boils down to competitors not liking that Microsoft can piggyback MSSE updates on the same Windows Update service it uses to distribute patches and fixes for Windows.

 The best part in Gralla's piece is McAfee and Symantec dodging the chance to complain about Windows Update, but tearing down MSSE as ineffective and weak, like all the other free antivirus software out there.

 I hate to say it, but I've had better luck with free antivirus in general and MSSE in particular than I did with any of the paid apps I've owned or tested. Reviews of MSSE consistentlypraise it, often putting it above freeware favorites AVG and Avast. I hate to say it because I'm not accustomed to trusting Microsoft for a piece of software that runs quickly, fails rarely, and works at least as well as similar apps I've tried.

 Getting praise for anti-malware is an accomplishment for Microsoft and a stretch for reviewers that focus on or prefer open source and free anti-malware, because the two have never been on the same page before. Microsoft is usually the object of vilification for its tendency to ship multimillion-line software products that still contain flaws, and its history of weak or nonexistent security apps, either to avoid reinforcing the idea that Windows could be flawed, or to avoid interfering with sales for important ISV partners like Symantec and McAfee.

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