Microsoft has launched a trust-building initiative which it is hoped will show its commitment to making the Windows computer operating system more secure, and claims to be moving increasingly into the territory of specialist security software companies such as McAfee Inc. and Symantec Corp. The company is planning to release software to protect corporate computers running Windows against viruses, worms and other attacks, with a beta coming by the end of this year.

"It's a unified product. You don't have to pick whose anti-virus solution you think is the best," Chief Executive Steve Ballmer told a news conference in Munich. "The threats we see do need more than secure software."