After acquiring several anti-virus, anti-spyware, and anti-spam solution makers, Microsoft has finally announced its product plans along with a new security consortium.

Speaking to a group of people at a conference in Munich, Germany, Steve Ballmer, Microsoft chief executive officer, and Mike Nash, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Security Technology Unit, explained the company's new Microsoft Client Protection.

The solution helps protect business desktops, laptops and file servers against various forms of malware including viruses, worms, Trojans, rookits, and spyware. Client Protection will offer an integrated management console and will also integrate with Active Directory. While the product is still undergoing development, Microsoft said it intends to make a limited beta available sometime before the end of the year. While Microsoft did not say so directly, Client Protection is undoubtedly based on technology acquired with the purchase of GeCAD and GIANT Company Software.

Microsoft had also acquired anti-virus and anti-spam product maker Sybari Software. The company announced plans to release Microsoft Antigen, which is based on Sybari technology, that will protect messaging and collaboration servers. Microsoft said it will add its own antivirus scanning engine to the solution and that Microsoft Antigen for Exchange recently completed Microsoft’s Security Development Lifecycle review process. The product is scheduled to enter beta testing sometime in the first half of 2006. 

Microsoft also announced the SecureIT Alliance, which is a group of companies developing solutions for Windows platforms. Companies that want to join the alliance must sign a non-disclosure agreement and must also be Microsoft Partners who develop security solutions for Windows. The company said that its possible that system integrators would join the alliance in the future.

“Microsoft is approaching the security problem from many directions,” said Mike Nash. “Our strategy can be seen as having three essential components. First, we’re continuing to harden the platform, making it less susceptible to vulnerabilities. Second, we’re developing security products that run on top of the platform to help our customers. And third, we are working with the industry to provide a wide range of solutions for customers."

The alliance currently consists of thirty companies. Among the founding members are Altiris Inc., Aventail Corp., BindView Corp., Centrify Corp., Citrix Systems Inc., Computer Associates International Inc., Configuresoft Inc., e-Security Inc., F5 Networks Inc., Forum Systems Inc., F-Secure Corp., FullArmor Corp., LANDesk Software Ltd., McAfee, Inc., Microsoft Corp., Net Report, NetIQ Corp., Network Intelligence Corp., Panda Software, Ping Identity Corp., Quest Software Inc., RSA Security Inc., Symantec Corp., Trend Micro Inc., Utimaco Safeware AG, VeriSign Inc., Voltage Security Inc., Vormetric Inc., Webroot Software Inc. and Websense Inc.