During his keynote address at the annual RSA Conference today, Bill Gates, chairman and chief software architect at Microsoft Corp. , announced continued innovation and technology investments including future enhancements for safer Web browsing, such as plans for a new version of Microsoft(R) Internet Explorer for Windows XP Service Pack 2 customers; expanding anti-spyware protection by including the Windows(R) AntiSpyware technology at no additional charge as part of the Windows value proposition.
Gates announced Internet Explorer 7.0, designed to add new levels of security to Windows XP SP2 while maintaining the level of extensibility and compatibility that customers have come to expect. Internet Explorer 7.0 will also provide even stronger defenses against phishing, malicious software and spyware. The beta release is scheduled to be available this summer.
In addition Gates said the company’s plan for making the personal version of the final Windows AntiSpyware software available at no additional charge to licensed Windows customers as part of the Windows value proposition. The offering will offer full functionality to consumers, including the ability to detect and remove spyware, continual protection that helps guard against more than 50 ways that Web sites and programs can put
spyware on a PC, and protection against the latest threats through the combined efforts of the SpyNet(TM) community and Microsoft researchers. For business customers, with more complex infrastructure support, management and deployment needs, Microsoft plans a managed anti-spyware solution that will be available as part of a paid solution.
In his keynotes Gates also announced that a beta version of Microsoft Update, a unified update service for consumers and small businesses that includes technologies such as Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows Server(TM) 2003, Office 2003 and Exchange Server 2003, is scheduled for release in mid-March. Microsoft Update will consolidate the latest security and reliability updates in one convenient location. In addition, Gates confirmed that the final version of a complimentary service designed for midsize and larger enterprises, Windows Update Services, will be available in the first half of 2005. Windows Update Services will enable system administrators to more quickly obtain updates for a wider array of Microsoft applications and distribute them across their networks.
In addition, Gates announced that version 2.0 of the Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer (MBSA), a tool to help identify common security misconfigurations, will be available in the same timeframe as Windows Update Services, and will work seamlessly with Windows Update Services to provide consistency in scanning and deployment.