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The anti-virus market will grow to reach $7.49bn by 2012, according to market analyst Frost & Sullivan (F&S). Last year, the market was worth $3.27bn.

Increasinlgy, Malware is written as a tool to obtain confidential user information by phishing fraudsters and the like. Greater awareness of this trends will drive enterprise and individuals to invest in anti-virus and other security technologies, according to F&S.

It says the imminent entry of Microsoft into the market will spur anti-virus vendors into changing marketing programs and strengthening their channel relationships. Last year, Microsoft entered the enterprise security market with the acquisition of Sybari, which is best known for its Antigen server anti-virus software. Microsoft also recently launched beta versions of new consumer and enterprise anti-virus clients.

Microsoft's enormous marketing and branding power, as well as its lower prices, threaten established vendors and will likely drive down the price of consumer anti-virus products.

"Established vendors should position themselves along their expertise in the security market", Frost & Sullivan research analyst Katie Gotzen said. "In order to retain channel partners, as well as business and private customers, existing players should deploy loyalty marketing. Another option is focusing on growth in areas where Microsoft is not competing, such as security solutions for Linux." ®

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