An unholy war has broken out between two major anti-virus vendors over alleged theft of software code, despite rising pressure from users for security companies to cooperate.
Symantec yesterday filed suit against arch-rival McAfee Associates in Santa Clara and alleged it had pirated software code. According to a Symantec statement: ?McAfee knowingly stole patent-pending code from Symantec?s Norton Crashguard. Norton Crashguard was launched in September 1996 and currently has more than 500,00 users.?
The argument centres around McAfee?s product PC Medic - which the Symantec statement states was launched in March 1997, after Norton Crashguard. This product is widely used not only in the US but across western and eastern Europe.
Jan Hruska, chairman of anti-virus company Sophos, which publishes industry newsletter 'The Virus Bulletin', took a dim view of any legal battle. He said: ?McAfee has been belligerent and litigious before. Quite honestly, it?s a bit childish. The virus world is so fast moving from day to day that we should be helping rather than suing each other.?
Many users share this view. Six years ago, the Metropolitan Police Computer Squad attempted to get all players in the market to cooperate rather than fight each other, but little progress has been made since then.
Gordon Eubanks, chief executive of Symantec, said: ?It?s a sad irony that even as the industry is beginning to solve piracy issues overseas, new piracy is emerging in our own back yard."
But a representative from McAfee said her company had received no formal lawsuit from the Cupertino giant. She said: ?We have not formally been served with any lawsuit papers and we haven?t been able to review the allegations. We can?t comment. ?
She refuted the argument that McAfee was interested in litigation against other anti-viral majors in the business. ?We?re here to help end users and not ourselves,? she said.
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