WSJ.com - Microsoft Offers Free Virus-Removal,Anti-Spyware Programs: "Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), whose popular Windows software is a frequent target for Internet viruses, is offering a free security program to remove the most dangerous infections from computers.
The program, with monthly updates, is a step toward plans by Microsoft to sell full-blown antivirus software later this year.
Microsoft said that starting Thursday, consumers can download the new security program from the company's Web site - www.microsoft.com - and that updated versions will be offered automatically and free each month.
Also being offered is a free program to remove 'spyware,' a category of irritating programs that secretly monitor the activities of Internet users and can cause sluggish computer performance or popup ads.
Microsoft said the virus-removal program will not prevent computer infections and was never intended to replace the need for traditional antivirus software, such as flagship products from McAfee Inc. (MFE) or Symantec Corp. (SYMC).
But a senior Microsoft executive confirmed the company's plans to sell its own antivirus software, which would compete against programs from McAfee, Symantec and others."