Given its popularity, the trial version of Microsoft's new Windows 7 operating system is creating a cottage industry of sorts for other software makers.
Windows 7 screen shot.
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Symantec is offering the Norton 360 3.0 Beta for Windows 7, AVG has introduced AVG Internet Security and AVG Anti-virus for Windows 7 Beta, and Kaspersky Lab has made available a technical preview of Kaspersky Anti-Virus for Windows 7, according to Microsoft officials.
"Microsoft has been actively working with security partners to help them get their applications ready for Windows 7," Windows communications manager Brandon LeBlanc wrote in a blog post Thursday. "Three security developers have taken the build we released to developers … in October and have developed solutions available today that work with Windows 7 Beta."
By partnering closely with third parties, Microsoft is hoping to avoid a repeat of Windows Vista's shaky debut in January 2007. At the time, a number of major security providers, including Symantec, didn't have ready products that were fully Vista compatible.
Microsoft needs Windows 7 to be a hit. Vista, the most current version of Windows, has failed to catch on with mainstream computer users and businesses have shunned it outright. Many users have complained about Vista's hardware requirements, intrusive security measures, and lack of compatibility with older applications.
Dissatisfaction with Vista has allowed Apple to gain share against Microsoft in the computer operating system market in recent months. Windows' market share in November fell below 90% for the first time in years, while Mac OS is now flirting with the 10% mark, according to market watcher Net Applications.
Microsoft is hoping that Windows 7, which is expected to be released in its final form in late 2009 or early 2010, will stem the tide.