Online security software maker Trend Micro Inc yesterday announced an agreement with Micro-soft Corp to provide anti-virus scanning and cleaning protection for its MSN Hotmail Web-based e-mail accounts. The cooperation is effective immediately.
Under the agreement, Tokyo-based Trend Micro will provide real-time anti-virus technology to scan attachments and e-mail for 187 million Hotmail accounts worldwide. The companies did not reveal the value of the deal.
Microsoft has previously used McAfee Inc's technology to provide the service.
Microsoft did not give reasons for the switch.
The announcement was issued on Monday in the US. McAfee's shares, listed on the New York Stock Exchange, closed at US$26.98, down US$1.97, or 6.8 percent, on the news.
Trend Micro shares rose 3.2 percent to close at ?5,420 on the Tokyo Stock Exchange while its American depositary shares rose 8.5 percent to US$54.78 on the NASDAQ Stock Market.
Marvin Chiu (丘立全), general manager of Trend Micro's Taiwan business unit, said the partnership marks Trend Micro's ambition to tap the individual consumer market worldwide, which is the company's priority for the coming year.
Although Trend Micro has secured 70 percent of the consumer market in Taiwan, 50 percent in Japan and 20 percent in Australia, the firm's market share in this segment in the US and Europe is almost zero, Chiu said.
Trend Micro's bid to expand in the consumer market can be seen in its recent products, Chiu said. For example, the company's Trend Micro PC-cillin Internet Security 2005, which hit the market last month, provides security against Internet-based threats such as viruses, spam, spyware, hackers and phishing scams, he said.
Foreseeing a boom in smart phones next year, which may be targeted by virus writers, Trend Micro is designing security software used to protect data-centric mobile devices such as smart phones against viruses and short-message service spam, Chiu said.
The first virus to spread via mobile devices was found in June this year. The virus replicates via Bluetooth-enabled devices and runs on Symbian Series 60 mobile devices. It consumes battery life by repeatedly searching for Bluetooth-enabled devices to spread the virus.
"Although the virus is [more of] a prank type of attack, hackers may soon spread malicious codes as they have done over the Internet to various mobile devices," Chiu said.
Trend Micro's Web site now offers a free download version of its software, which supports the Microsoft Windows Mobile for the Smartphone 2003 operating sys-tem. Software for other operating systems will be available next month, according to the Web site.