Microsoft Security Essentials Gaining Popularity

Subject: General Tech | March 17, 2012 - 02:01 PM |
Tagged: opswat, software, mse, antivirus

OPSWAT, a company founded in 2002, has released it's latest quartlerly report on software market share. The new report indicates that as of March 2012, the free Microsoft Security Essentials antivirus application has made the biggest gains in users this year.

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Microsoft Security Essentials is a free antivirus program developed by Microsoft that has been on the market for just over 2 years (since September 2009). Despite not having the best detection rates, it is a program that is non-intrusive and lightweight on resources. Because of the automatic updating (via Windows Update) and being essentially "set it and forget it," it has garnered quite the following from tech enthusiasts that use it on their computers along with a bit of common sense browsing to stay safe. In addition, it makes for a good choice for family members as it is easy to install and requires little maintenance along with not costing any money. Also, If you have a friend or relative that refuses to pay for AV yet also refuses to stop visiting certain areas of the web, having some kind of free antivirus is better than nothing!

Specifically, the Microsoft software has managed to snag 10.08% of the worldwide antivirus market, putting it under the three big A's of antivirus: Avast with 16.26%, Avira with 11.65%, and AVG Technologies with 10.96%. Close behind Microsoft is ESET antivirus with 10.06%. Microsoft has increased their worldwide market share to 10.08% from 7.27% a year ago. They are further ahead of Symantec who holds 9.97% of the market.

Worldwide Vendor Market Share - March 2012
Vendor Market Share
AVAST Software 16.26%
AVG Technologies 10.96%
Microsoft Corporation 10.08%
ESET Software 10.06%
Symantec Corporation 9.97%
Kaspersky Labs 7.75%
McAfee Incorporated 4.74%
Panda Software 3.77%
Trend Micro, Incorporated 2.22%
Others 12.54%


In terms of the North American market, Symantec actually pulls ahead of Microsoft, and holds the number one position at 16.09%. Microsoft then holds the second position in North American market share with 14.92%. The MS software saw big gains from last year, moving from fourth position to second position and 9.94% to 14.92% respectively. AVG holds third place at 13.22% while Avast has 11.96% of the North American market and fourth place. You can see the remaining top 10 vendors' market share in North America below.

North American Vendor Market Share - March 2012
Vendor Market Share
Symantec Corporation 16.09%
Microsoft Corporation 14.92%
AVG Technologies 13.22%
AVAST Software 11.96%
ESET Software 7.06%
McAfee Incorporated 6.76%
Kaspersky Labs 4.03%
Panda Software 3.49%
Trend Micro Incorporated 3.10%
Others 14.96%


Drilling down beyond vendor market share to the specific programs' market share Microsoft Security Essentials holds 14.58% of the North American market as of March 2012. Also, MSE holds 9.96% of the worldwide market in March 2012. In terms of ranking, the individual software that is MSE is is number one in North America and second place worldwide. Microsoft Security Essentials holds 14.58% in North America and 9.96% globally, putting it just under AVAST! Free Antivirus which is the number one AV product worldwide with 11.91% of the market. These numbers are a bit more telling, as they indicate Microsoft is doing pretty darn well with their AV program, and it is really helping them (market share wise) to have just one main SKU/program in their lineup.

Interestingly, their report indicates that the top 10 antivirus makers hold the great majority of the market with 87.46% of worldwide market share. Of the top 10 (listed in chart 1) global AV vendors, only Trend Micro is a new addition at number 10 thanks to overtaking PC Tools with a total of 2.22% market share. The top 10 has further gained more of the total market compared to last year. In 2010, the top 10 vendors held 86.57% of the market, and they now hold 87.46%. Individual product wise, the top 10 companies' applications hold 64.94% of the worldwide market and 63.08% of the North American Market (this is for specific programs only, while the previous total numbers are for top 10 AV companies as a whole).

Further, OPSWAT states that the free offerings continue to dominate the charts with the most number of installations and market share. In North America, they identified 81 antivirus companies and 257 antivirus software applications. Globally OPSWAT detected 87 vendors and different programs. That makes the fact that the top 10 vendors hold approximately 87% of the market even more impressive.  More information on the recent OPSWAT report is availabe in the PDF format here.

Now, who's taking bets on when the EU will tell Microsoft that they have to un-bundle (what is now known as in Windows 8) Defender / Microsoft Security Essentials and advertise all their competitors products to make things, ah, "fair"? Do you use MSE on your computers?

Source: OPSWAT

March 18, 2012 | 01:27 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

MSSE + malwarebytes is pretty good.

MSSE is great at being an AV that doesn't annoy you or slow down you operation.

March 19, 2012 | 05:21 AM - Posted by Tim Verry

Yup, that's what I use. On my parents machine I have MSE and the paid version of Malwarebytes

March 18, 2012 | 10:12 PM - Posted by Brett from Oz (not verified)

The increasing popularity of MSE does not suprise me one bit as I have been using this on all my systems since it first appeared and recommend it all my clients. Microsoft deserve some credit here for coming up with a non-intrusive anti-virus solution that requires minimal maintenance and goes about its business in a very efficient manner.

March 19, 2012 | 09:22 AM - Posted by dreamer77dd

I am just wondering?
``Despite not having the best detection rates``
How do they test this?
The detection dictionary or whatever you call it seems to be updated all the time.
I think ti si great and have it on all my pc If i run into a problem I check on the website to see if others have the same one.
They then have a update states on new virus or malware they found.
Once they update your problem and you do a scan it fixed.
I dont know, but i feel safe with MSE
I try other programes if i have issues but MSE if updated enough eventually gets around to fixing it when others have not.
Okay, Thats enough from me.
But I think it is one of their better softwares MS has put out in years.

March 19, 2012 | 11:44 AM - Posted by Tim Verry

Wow, I can't think of the name of the organization that does the detection tests each year, but I remember reading articles that it has dropped over the years, esp. on so called "zero-day" attacks. I think it still does a good job, esp. when used with Malwarebytes.

April 28, 2012 | 04:35 AM - Posted by MArk (not verified)

Tim, indeed MSE dropped over the last year, but in the last detection test at AV Comparatives scored 93% and 0 false alarms. So i say it's gettin' better.

June 17, 2012 | 10:28 PM - Posted by Tim Verry

Thanks for the update, glad to know it's getting better as I'm still running it on my systems :)

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