The beta version of Microsoft AntiSpyware previously recommended that users quarantine several products from Claria, but this changed last week.
According to a statement published by Microsoft, the downgrade in threat level merely represents an effort to be "fair and consistent with how Windows AntiSpyware (Beta) handles similar software from other vendors."
The news comes at a sensitive time, as Microsoft is reportedly in acquisition talks with Claria.
The statement notes that Claria, previously known as Gator, asked Microsoft in January to review AntiSpyware's classification of its products. Redmond apparently decided that continued detection was still appropriate--but that it would give users the choice whether or not to remove Claria software. This was a change from the previous policy in which AntiSpyware recommended users remove Claria products.
"All software is reviewed under the same objective criteria, detection policies, and analysis process," Microsoft said. "Absolutely no exceptions were made for Claria.
"Windows AntiSpyware (Beta) continues to notify our users when Claria software is found on a computer, and it offers our users the option to remove the software if they desire...We firmly believe that people should have complete control over what runs on their computers."
By Renai LeMay