Moving to keep pace in the red-hot software market for detecting and removing spyware, anti-virus vendor Trend Micro on Tuesday announced plans to shell out $15 million to acquire desktop-security startup InterMute.
The deal allows Cupertino, Calif.-based Trend Micro Inc. to target the consumer and SMB (small and midsized business) markets with InterMute Inc.s SpySubtract application. It also signals a growing trend among the big Internet security companies to add stand-alone anti-spyware products to their software suites.
Trend Micros purchase follows Microsoft Corp.s acquisition of Giant Company Software Inc. and Symantec Corp.s recent beta release of a new Norton Internet Security 2005 AntiSpyware Edition, which adds spyware detection and removal capabilities.
The other big-name anti-virus vendor, McAfee Inc., also has a stand-alone anti-spyware offering for the consumer and enterprise markets.
Trend Micro co-founder Eva Chen said the immediate plan is to roll out an integrated, stand-alone anti-spyware application for consumers under the Trend Micro brand within 30 days. A larger, enterprise-grade version will ship in 60 days, integrating SpySubtract with Trend Micros existing anti-spyware product set.
“We will continue to support current InterMute customers, and for all customers, we will offer a migration path to integrated solutions that include anti-spyware capabilities from both companies,” Chen said on a conference call Tuesday.
InterMutes Braintree, Mass., headquarters will serve as Trend Micros anti-spyware research and development center, and all 35 employees will be retained, Chen said.
InterMute, which is profitable, counts total assets of $2 million and total sales of $4 million as of Dec. 31, 2004. The company has distribution and OEM deals with Hewlett Packard Co., Sony Corp. and Motorola Inc.
InterMute chief executive Ed English said the enterprise version of SpySubtract fits perfectly into Trend Micros long-term vision for the anti-spyware market. “Spyware is huge business, and it comes with huge privacy concerns. It is a problem that is high on every IT admins list,” English said.