Redmond has made some rather impressive strides when it comes to the security of its software products, and one cornerstone of this effort has been its antivirus and antimalware applications.

In fact, up until now Microsoft has promoted Security Essentials quite aggressively.

The company said that this program offers similar protection as many other antivirus programs available on the market, including popular solutions from the likes of Panda, Kaspersky, Symantec and more.

But now Holly Stewart, the senior program manager of Microsoft Malware Protection Center, admitted that Security Essentials is indeed designed to remain at the bottom, as it is offered as a first line of defense, a basic solution. Meaning users should always install third-party protection.

She was talking to Dennis Technology Labs, a company that tests antivirus programs on a regular basis. PC Pro has the interview with the senior Redmond executive:

“We had an epiphany a few years ago, back in 2011, where we realised we had a greater calling and that was to protect all Microsoft customers. But you can’t do that with a monoculture and you can’t do that with a malware-catching ecosystem that is not robust and diverse.”

Stewart also talked about how Microsoft collaborates with partners with the intention of helping them provide better protection. It appears that the company previously invested a lot of money in its security programs, but this is not really the case now.

This probably is the reason why Security Essentials has not been securing all that well in antivirus tests:

“We’re providing all of that data and information to our partners so they can do at least as well as we are. The natural progression is that we will always be on the bottom of these tests. And honestly, if we are doing our job correctly, that’s what will happen.”

This is as close a confirmation you will get that Microsoft is not quite yet ready to develop a fully featured security product, something similar to what these large security companies bring around.

What this also means is that third party antivirus solutions remain your best bet for a robust, secure and unbreakable computer — even if it has Security Essentials installed as the baseline defense.

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  1. So, have the always purposely not made a product that will compete with these other vendors? That’s almost what it seems like.

    • What it seems like to me is other vendors were complaining “since you have an antivirus fewer people are buying ours” so to make vendors happy they brought out this press release. Its the same with PC and phone OEM’s, they don’t want to loose other partners so they have to play nice.

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