The business client security product Microsoft has been working on since 2003 will finally make its debut in May, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has revealed.

Speaking at a technology event near Amsterdam, Ballmer said that Forefront Client Security, Microsoft's antivirus and antispyware product for business desktops, will be available "in the next month.”

The product has been in beta testing for more than a year, and the company's most recent target for final release is by the end of June.

Ballmer characterised the product, which is a combination of products acquired from other companies and Microsoft in-house development, as an all-in-one security product for PCs in businesses. "It really does do hygiene, security, antivirus all the way down to the client level," he said.

Dutch IDG title Webwereld has posted a video of Ballmer's keynote address on its website. He spoke at an event that focused on security and system management.

Forefront Client Security has been a work in progress for some time. It’s based on software Microsoft acquired in its 2003 purchase of antivirus vendor GeCAD. It also includes antispyware technology that Microsoft brought on board in 2004 when it bought Giant Company Software.

In his speech, Ballmer acknowledged that it's only been in the last five years that Microsoft has made security a priority as it developed new and existing products.

"About five years ago, we got a real wake-up call: security issues really started to accelerate on the Internet and in our products," he said. "We had built products and designed them in a world [before] the Internet. [When] we started to see any increase in the number of security issues, the first thing we did was committed ourselves to the reliability of our core products."

Ballmer also said that even as Microsoft continues efforts to make its software more inherently secure, there likely will always be a need for additional and third-party security products for the most reliable protection of IT systems. This is why the company opted to build its own security line.