Microsoft Denies Claria Favoritism

Microsoft took extra steps Monday to quash any talk that it is going light on Claria adware, by posting a statement on its Microsoft AntiSpyware Web site. The move comes after a researcher discovered the company had changed its recommendations on how to deal with the software.

Eric Howes at Spyware Warrior discovered the changes during a recent test and found that Dashbar, Gator, PrecisionTime and Weatherscope had all been switched from a "Quarantine" classification to "Ignore." According to further research by Alex Eckelberry, president of Sunbelt Software, the changes occurred on March 31.

In light of Microsoft's rumored plans to purchase Claria, the change raised eyebrows among users. However, Microsoft giant was quick to deny any accusations of favoritism.

"The analysis of software is based on a single set of objective criteria," the company wrote.

The criteria, which can be found on Microsoft's Web site, judges software on a number of categories including deceptive behaviors, privacy, security, performance impact, and industry and consumer opinion of the product.

According to the statement, Microsoft allows all companies to request a review of their classification through a dispute process. Claria filed a dispute to revaluate their programs, which Microsoft accepted.

While Microsoft said "continued detection of Claria's products was indeed appropriate," it changed the classification to be in line with similar programs and alerted the company to its decision at the end of March.

"All software is reviewed under the same objective criteria, detection policies, and analysis process. Absolutely no exceptions were made for Claria," Microsoft reiterated. "Windows AntiSpyware continues to notify our users when Claria software is found on a computer, and it offers our users the option to remove the software if they desire."

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