While Faulhaber trumpeted 64-bit XP's and Vista's -- and by extension, Windows 7's -- ability to sidestep more malware, the bi-annual Microsoft Security Intelligence Report he cited said that some of the lower infection rates might have nothing to do with the OS, and everything to do with the user.
"Infection rates for the 64-bit versions of Windows XP and Windows Vista are lower than for the corresponding 32-bit versions of those platforms, a difference that might be attributable to a higher level of technical expertise on the part of people who run 64-bit operating systems," the report concluded. "This difference may be expected to decrease as 64-bit computing continues to make inroads among mainstream users."
Nor did Faulhaber go so far as to claim that 64-bit Windows, even Windows 7, was stout enough to do without security software. "64-bit Windows needs 64-bit anti-malware software like Microsoft Security Essentials to protect the whole computer," he acknowledged, touting his company's free security suite, which shipped in late September.