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Microsoft's Anti-Spam Moves Lack Teeth
On Monday, Microsoft said that it would offer Exchange Intelligent Message Filter, an add-on to Exchange Server 2003, sometime during the first half of 2004. Based on the SmartScreen anti-spam technology already used by Microsoft's Hotmail and integrated with the newest edition of its Outlook e-mail client, Exchange Intelligent Message Filter will scan incoming e-mail and delete or set aside suspected spam.
Microsoft will rely on Hotmail users to submit spam examples, which will be analyzed by the Redmond, Wash.-based developer to determine what is and isn't spam, then update its filters accordingly. Additionally, the SmartScreen technology, and thus the Exchange add-on, can assign a spam confidence level to messages based on the regularity of word associations, and 'train' itself to better spot spam by monitoring what kind of messages users designate as junk mail.
But while analysts welcomed the move by Microsoft to build anti-spam defenses into Exchange, they don't see it as a panacea. "In the short term, the Filter won't do very much to stop spam," said David Ferris, an analyst with Ferris Research, a firm that specializes in the messaging and collaboration markets. "It's really of limited value for the moment."
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