Report: Snow Leopard To Confront Mac Malware

Adding anti-malware to Snow Leopard is a Catch-22 for Apple: In solving a problem, Apple must first admit a problem actually exists. Which is hard when one of your major selling points is that you're secure and your major competitor--Microsoft Windows--is not.

Security vendor Intego made the apparent discovery of anti-malware features in Snow Leopard, evidence of which is being shown on its Web site. Apple has neither confirmed or denied the report.

If there really is anti-malware in Snow Leopard, due for release on Friday, it would be helpful for Apple to fess-up now. It would improve first-day sales, which might help Apple forget the bitter taste of crow, which Microsoft will presumably serve up.

There seems to be no compelling reason for Apple to add the feature right now. The world is not suffering a pandemic of Apple malware. Rather, most Mac users continue to run their systems without any type of protection.

Nevertheless, adding the protection, if that is what Apple has really done, is a good idea. If it is a good anti-malware solution and offers all the protection a user needs, it will make Snow Leopard a good deal and worth the expense.

Having just yesterday complained that even at $10 (in a 5-user package) the Snow Leopard upgrade might cost more than its worth, I am ready to change my mind. I'd happily pay a good bit more than $10 to have Apple solve all my malware troubles, even the ones I don't yet have.

It is clear that, over time, Macintosh will become a more frequent malware target. Apple's free ride is going to come to an end. It is wise for Apple to deal with the future challenge itself, though a free upgrade would reach many more users more quickly than Snow Leopard will following its release this Friday.

But, since there is no hurry and the feature presumably costs money (and certainly adds value) an inexpensive paid upgrade makes sense.

On a related topic, I got an e-mail from Amazon yesterday saying my Snow Leopard Family Pack would arrive Monday, despite my selecting and paying extra for one-day delivery. I also got an e-mail from Apple promising Friday delivery.

I canceled the Amazon order and have decided that my weekend errands will take me by an Apple store, so I will buy Snow Leopard in person and still receive it more quickly than if I waited on the sluggish Amazon to deliver.

Industry veteran David Coursey tweets as @techinciter and can be contacted via his Web site.

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