Microsoft announces new security software, new version of Internet Explorer

Wednesday, February 16, 2005 Bill Gates announced in a RSA security conference that Microsoft will release major security changes to Internet Explorer and will release a new version prior to the release of Longhorn, the replacement for Windows XP expected any time after 2005.

Microsoft plans to include many features to increase security. These features are to protect against threats such as computer viruses, spyware, and phishing.

Release of a test copy of the new version is expected some time in the middle of this year. Also in the works is a Microsoft developed anti-virus program. This move puts pressure on other major players such as McAfee and Symantec. The anti-spyware product is currently planned for release to Windows users for free.

Analysts contend that these plans to rework Internet Explorer are likely due to increased competition from smaller browsers such as Firefox. AOL plans to release a new version of Netscape Browser with protection against phishing as well.

To further compete, more content related services may be incorporated into the browser. Martin Reynolds, a vice president of technology forecasting firm Gartner Inc., said, "I don't think we will see a whole bunch of new features. We will see the existing features of the browser tightened up so the security becomes more manageable."