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Kaspersky Lab To Withdraw Microsoft Antitrust Complaint

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

Kaspersky antitrust complaint to be withdrawn after Microsoft agrees changes for Windows users

Kaspersky Labs and Microsoft have settled their differences after Redmond agreed to change how it delivers security updates to Windows users.

An official antitrust complaint had been filed with the European Commission and German Federal Cartel Officer against Microsoft in June.

The Moscow-based security specialist had alleged at the time that Microsoft was abusing its dominant position in the operating system market to stop people purchasing third party security software and boost its free Windows Defender product.

windows-defenderKaspersky Complaint

The dispute between Microsoft and Kaspersky Lab had been raging for over six months now. Indeed, last year, Kaspersky made a similar complaint to Russian authorities and said that Microsoft had made some changes as a result.

Kaspersky essentially alleges that Windows 10 does not allow Windows Defender to be switched off by default, causing conflicts with other security software which requires permission from users to perform actions such as scans.

“We see clearly – and are ready to prove – that Microsoft uses its dominant position in the computer operating system (OS) market to fiercely promote its own – inferior – security software (Windows Defender) at the expense of users’ previously self-chosen security solution,” Eugene Kaspersky, CEO of Kaspersky Labs, said in June.

“Such promotion is conducted using questionable methods, and we want to bring these methods to the attention of the anti-competition authorities,.”

Microsoft admitted in late June that it does switch off third-party anti-virus software when Windows 10 is being updated, but it insisted it only does it on a temporary basis.

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Microsoft Changes

But now it seems that Kaspersky Lab will withdraw antitrust complaints made in Europe against Microsoft after Microsoft agreed to make changes to Windows 10. Microsoft’s Rob Lefferts, a partner director of the Windows Enterprise and Security unit, made the admission in a blog post on the matter.

“Part of delivering on that commitment is listening and responding to feedback from our customers and partners,” Lefferts said. “We work closely with AV partners like Kaspersky Lab, and at our Microsoft Virus Initiative forum last month, we made great progress in building upon our shared understanding of how we deliver Windows 10 updates and security experiences that help ensure the ongoing safety of Windows customers.”

“I’m pleased to share these discussions have helped us clarify our roadmap and implementation plans,” he wrote. “As a result, we are making updates to our AV partner requirements today that reflect the interests of the community and our shared customers. We will also implement changes in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update.”

Microsoft said it would work “more closely with AV vendors to help them with compatibility reviews in advance of each feature update becoming available to customers.” It said it would also give AV partners better visibility and certainty around release schedules for feature updates, and would enable AV providers to use their own alerts and notifications to renew antivirus products before and after they have expired.

“We have modified how Windows will inform users when their antivirus application has expired and is no longer protecting them,” wrote Lefferts. “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.”

“We appreciate the feedback and continued dialogue with our partners and are pleased to have found common ground with Kaspersky Lab on the complaints raised in Russia and Europe,” he added. “We look forward to our continued partnership with the industry.”

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