Friday, 18 August, 2017

Microsoft dodges antivirus antitrust with Windows 10 Fall tweaks

Terence Owen | 11 August, 2017, 00:59

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.

Kaspersky said that the company is "absolutely satisfied with the changes that will be implemented in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update" and will be informing all the regulators that it no longer has "any matters for Microsoft to address", noting that the company has a long history of cooperation with the Windows maker. The change in policy comes after one high-profile security firm, Kaspersky Labs, slammed Microsoft back in November 2016 over what it claimed was a concerted effort to squeeze out third-party antivirus software and give priority to Microsoft's own Windows Defender.

In addition, starting with the Autumn Creators Update, third-party AV will be able to use their own alerts and notifications for antivirus products, even after they've expired, and can even make static notifications that cannot be cleared until the AV has been updated or removed.

From Kaspersky's perspective they are thrilled with the changes Microsoft is making and they have dropped all of their antitrust cases against the company.

The requirement to interact with an alert about the expiration of a third party security software product and choose Windows Defender as an alternate is straight forward and leaves choice in the hands of the user. "We are grateful Microsoft is addressing these issues completely, making sure that both partnerships and diversity are preserved on the market for both user and industry benefit".

"That ... means that there should be no switch-offs due to incompatibility issues", Kaspersky Lab's Vice President of Consumer Products Andrei Mochola wrote in a Thursday blog post. Kaspersky had also filed complaints with the European Commission and German Federal Cartel Office.

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Almost a year ago, Kaspersky alleged Microsoft made it very hard for security vendors to be included in the the Windows 10 operating system. They will also make the release schedules more visible and certain, allowing devs extra time for testing.

Mochola welcomed the fact suppliers will be allowed to show their own notifications to help users renew licences before and after they have expired.

"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 Russian Federation and Europe".

According to Kaspersky Labs' founder, Eugene Kaspersky, Microsoft's software has a concerning habit of uninstalling, or deactivating, third-party antivirus apps during updates or upgrades.

Starting with the Windows 10 Fall Creators' Update, the warning will persist until users decide whether to renew their third-party antivirus subscription or stick to the free Windows Defender.

Microsoft had denied breaking any laws and said that its goal was to help protect Windows 10 customers from cyber security threats.

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