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eWEEK Special Report: Comdex gets back to business

Las Vegas—Computer Associates took a giant step toward the retail channel Tuesday. In a joint announcement with Microsoft at the COMDEX show here, CA said it would make one-year subscriptions to CA’s eTrust EZ Armor antivirus and firewall desktop security suite available to qualified Windows home users at no cost.

The announcement, which extends CA’s partnership in Microsoft’s Protect Your PC program, was greeted warmly by Tom Button, corporate vice president of Windows at Microsoft Corp. “Helping Windows customers get more secure and stay protected is a top priority,” he said.

eTrust EZ Armor pairs a consumer version of CA’s enterprise-class eTrust security technology with a pre-configured firewall from ZoneLabs. It represents a significant turn in CA’s traditional enterprise-focused market strategy, carrying it into the end-user market now dominated by Symantec.

Alan Komet, CA’s Channel Manager of eTrust Security Solutions, said the Islandia, NY-based company would rely heavily on its e-tail distribution partners, including CDW, and Amazon, for distribution after the free-year introductory offer expires. He denied that EZ Armor was intended to compete head-on with Symantec, market leader in end-user security, but added “we do, however, plan to cause Symantec some pain.”

The free download, a $49.95 retail value, extends through June 30, 2004 and promises one year of personal firewall and AV protection,including daily virus signature updates, for free. The download is available at