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Christophe Guillemin

Special to CNET

Microsoft is putting the finishing touches on its spyware killer, based on technology from its recent aquistion, Giant Software. The beta version is expected to have its public debut in a few days.

The December purchase of Giant, a small U.S. publisher of spyware detection software, put Microsoft in a position to offer an antispyware application of its own. Spyware is software that can, among other things, inundate users with unwanted pop-ups or surreptitiously monitor a computer’s activity.

The technology enthusiast Web site has just published the first screenshots of the beta version, putting a release date of Thursday on the beta.

Nicolas Mirail, technical head of security in Microsoft France, told ZDNet France: “We are already in the process of internal testing of the beta version of the antispyware (program), which will be released to the public in January,” he said. “No precise release date has been set yet.”

Microsoft is also keeping quiet about whether the application, which will be compatible with Windows 2000 and later versions, is designed to be an integrated part of Windows, like a security patch, or will be distributed or sold separately.

The Redmond, Wash., company is also working on antivirus software, likely to be a standalone offering and also due for release this year.

Christophe Guillemin of ZDNet France reported from Paris.