Leading antivirus vendors will dive into the war over spam, offering users antispam software by 2004, according to a new report from Meta Group.

And that's one of the capabilities Global 2000 companies will be looking for when it comes to choosing an antivirus vendor, adds Meta analysts, who also say antivirus vendors will either integrate or acquire the necessary technology by next year. Successful vendors will not only incorporate antispam software, but will focus on content management, such as URL and mobile code filtering, at the enterprise gateway. Meta analysts also predict that vendors will offer integrated personal firewalls and personal intrusion detection at the client.

''Viruses are the most prevalent security threats to enterprise integrity,'' says Peter Firstbrook, a senior research analyst with Meta. ''We expect the market for antivirus products to grow 10 percent to 20 percent per year. Vendors with solid solutions in the high-growth areas -- storage-area network, Linux, email and Web gateways -- will experience success as they broaden their penetration.''


Meta found that players in the antivirus market had narrowed down to a short list that only includes Trend Micro, Symantec, and Network Associates/McAfee.