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Russian security software company Kaspersky Lab has dropped its antitrust complaint against Microsoft after the U.S. technology giant agreed to demands to give third-party antivirus (AV) software providers more time to prepare for Windows updates.
Kaspersky first filed an antitrust complaint against Microsoft in its native Russia last November, followed by complaints to the European Commission and the German Federal Cartel Office in July. The crux of Kaspersky’s complaint is the way Microsoft was forcing its own Windows Defender AV software on Windows 10 users — Windows Defender is built into the very fabric of Windows 10 — while disabling existing third-party AV software that doesn’t yet fit Microsoft’s compatibility criteria.
One of the problems, according to Kaspersky, was that Microsoft didn’t provide enough preparation time before Windows updates to ensure Kaspersky (as well as other AV firms) could make its software play nicely with the Windows 10 update. There were a whole bunch of other related complaints, including a lack of clarity in the way Microsoft informed users that their AV software of choice had been disabled, as well as Microsoft prohibiting AV companies from being able to serve up their own alerts and notifications when an AV product licence was due to expire.
Microsoft, it seems, was keen to avoid the wrath of European regulators who, as it happens, recently imposed a $2.7 billion fine on Google for anti-competitive shenanigans. Indeed, Microsoft has acquiesced to most of Kaspersky’s requests and will give third-party AV firms more time to prepare for Windows updates and ensure they receive the final RTM (release to manufacturing) version of Windows earlier.
“This action will allow vendors to test every aspect of their security solutions’ behavior in the new version of the operating system, prior to its release, to ensure excellent compatibility,” explained Andrei Mochola, vice president for consumer products at Kaspersky Lab. “The more your security solution is compatible with your operating system, the less it affects performance and stability.”
Additionally, Rob Leffert, partner director for Windows Enterprise and Security, revealed a number of other changes the company is making as it “evolves” its approach to Windows AV security. These include allowing AV firms to use their own tailored alerts and notifications, rather than relying on Microsoft’s alerts to inform users that their security software is due for renewal.
“We have modified how Windows will inform users when their antivirus application has expired and is no longer protecting them,” added Leffert. “Instead of providing an initial toast notification that users could ignore, the new notification will persist on the screen until the user either elects to renew the existing solution or chooses to rely on Windows Defender or another solution provider.”
All changes will be applied to the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, and Mochola said that his company is so elated that it’s withdrawing its official complaint against Microsoft.
“We are absolutely satisfied with the changes that will be implemented in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, and we will be taking all necessary steps to withdraw our claims and inform all regulatory bodies that we no longer have any matters for Microsoft to address,” he said.
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