Windows Vista to dent the $3.6 billion security aftermarket - report

Market research firm Yankee Group believes that the launch of Microsoft Vista in the first quarter of 2007 will dramatically alter the Windows security market - causing some segments to dry up while others will remain unaffected. According to Yankee, the aftermarkets for anti-spyware and desktop firewalls, valued at $3.6 billion annually, will experience the most dramatic decline. But Vista will have little to no effect on the size of the corporate anti-virus segment, the firm said.

"Overall, Microsoft Vista will bring spectacular improvements to the overall level of security for users, but only if Microsoft succeeds in making customers and ISVs comfortable with the new security system," said Andrew Jaquith, Yankee Group Security Solutions & Services program manager. "However, Windows security issues will continue to be a permanent fact of life for Microsoft, which means that third parties will always have a rich and robust aftermarket available to them to serve."

Because of "usability challenges that customers will face" with Vista, Yankee Group also expects the new operating system to move at a slower pace than Microsoft's estimate of 400 million desktops in 24 months. The market research firm said that many customers may defer major upgrades because of the expense of upgrading end-user desktops, and because Microsoft will market security as a "feature" that users must pay for to obtain.