It's actually natural to watch a maturing industry shake out and start to purchase some small companies/rivals rather than reinvent the wheel.
MS on the other hand is like the Borg, they assimilate anything in their path, if you resist they simple rewrite it, violate your patents (Stacker for instance), and then pay off a paltry pittance settlement to the corpse of the remaining company after the fact.
I don't think they're in the wrong, but I'm not sure I trust them 100% to secure the machine either, otherwise they'd have done it decades ago instead of letting a cottage industry with much more experience in this matter fill the void.
Obviously having a bullet proof OS would be the preference eliminating the need for AV software to slow down the machines.
Since that isn't the case, I'd prefer a 3rd party who earns their livelihood scrambling to make AV as secure as possible because it's an INCOME, they need to be good at what they do to survive, vs MS where it's free and an EXPENSE costing them more money.
Who do you think has your best interest at heart, the people that view the process as INCOME or a horrible EXPENSE on their bottom line?
Worse case, here's how I see this playing out as I've watched it before:
MS releases this free AV thing into the wild, the cheapskates that used to buy other AV software abandon it for the free MS thing, and all the AV vendors (or most) dwindle and die off.
Then MS quits putting as much resources behind improving and maintaining their AV product, there's no serious competition left, and since it's a nasty EXPENSE the advancements in PC security that an open marketplace would've promoted have ceased to be created moving forward.
I could be wrong but I see the end game in favor of the hackers, not the PC owners, if this all comes to pass because fewer eyeballs on PC security issues is just bad for everyone all around.
There's not such a big firewall industry, it's tied into AV software.
[edited by: incrediBILL at 4:28 pm (utc) on June 11, 2009]