MS AntiSpyware Free for Personal Use

UPDATED Speaking at the RSA Conference Tuesday, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates said the company's recently released anti-spyware product will remain free for personal use.

"Just as spyware is something that we have to nip down today, we have decided that all licensed Windows users should have that protection at no charge," Gates said.

A version of the software for enterprise customers, however, will not be free. Microsoft has yet to announce any details or pricing for that release. There had been much speculation that Microsoft would move to a fee-based service once the anti-spyware program moved out of beta.

Microsoft AntiSpyware, which is based on software developed by GIANT, is part of a continuing effort by Redmond to make its operating system more secure. According to a recent survey, as many as 80 percent of Windows users may be infected by spyware.

"Customers are concerned about the risk malware poses to their personal information, and frustrated by its impact on the reliability and performance of their computers," Gates said. "We are responding by making security easier and more cost-effective for Windows customers, helping to protect millions of people who are vulnerable today."

Microsoft Watch's Mary Jo Foley contributed to this report.

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