Microsoft announced today that it will launch Defender anti-virus software for phones and other devices running Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS mobile operating systems later this year. Microsoft’s move is also the latest effort to sell to consumers who use mobile products from other companies.
In recent years, Microsoft has introduced Office to Android and iOS platforms, acquired SwiftKey, the popular mobile keyboard app, and launched new mobile games based on the Minecraft game it acquired in 2014. Last year, Microsoft also launched its own dual-screen Android phone.
While Apple and Google scrutinise their app stores to prevent malware, that hasn’t stopped Microsoft from joining in. “They’re pretty secure, but they’re pretty secure and they’re not the same as security,” Rob Lefferts, Microsoft’s vice president, said in an interview. Malware does appear on these platforms. More importantly, Mr. Levitz said, mobile devices can put people vulnerable to phishing attacks. In short, Defender can help protect people from such attacks.
The global security market is estimated at $80bn, according to Andrew Conway, a Microsoft executive. Microsoft launched its own anti-virus software, Windows Defender, in 2006 and last year changed its name to Microsoft Defender.