Trend Micro to buy anti-spyware firm InterMute

Trend Micro Tuesday announced its intent to acquire privately held anti-spyware software provider InterMute, which makes both consumer and enterprise SpySubtract products, for US$15 million.

Traditionally an anti-virus software vendor, Trend Micro just last month made available two anti-spyware products of its own, OfficeScan Anti-Spyware Suite for desktop and servers, and InterScan Anti-Spyware Suite for gateway-based spyware blocking. Thus, Trend Micro's executive team is seeking to assure the customer base, channel partners and industry analysts that despite some overlap, the Trend Micro and InterMute product lines will eventually dovetail.

In addition, Trend Micro sees tighter integration between anti-virus and anti-spyware.

"We intend to integrate these products to have anti-spyware and anti-virus together," said CEO Eva Chen, adding that a fully integrated enterprise product with full combined management and reporting capability is targeted for year-end.

However, at the same time, Trend Micro expects to offer standalone anti-spyware software to consumers since research indicates the demand is there.

Braintree, Mass.-based InterMute, which claims 20 million licensed customers, had only entered the market for corporate-based spyware in the last few months. The firm, which now has 35 employees, was founded in 1999 by CEO Ed English. InterMute itself recently acquired an anti-spyware vendor, Netherlands-based CWShredder, for its technology in detecting variants of spyware known as CoolWebSearch.

Trend Micro is promising to fully support InterMute's consumer and corporate customers over the next several months and says it anticipates no layoffs associated with the merger. Lane Bess, Trend Micro's president of North American operations, said the goal of the acquisition is to enhance Trend Micro's anti-spyware product line. Since InterMute and Trend Micro use different detection and eradication engines, work will have to be done after the acquisition is formally completed in order to end up with a single scanning engine.

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