Kaspersky withdraws antitrust complaints against Microsoft

Yolanda Curtis
August 10, 2017

Moscow-based cyber security firm Kaspersky Lab said on Wednesday it would withdraw antitrust complaints made in Europe against Microsoft after the USA technology giant agreed to change how it delivers security updates to Windows users.

The Moscow-based company's complaints included confusing processes for users to install Kaspersky products and keep them during Windows upgrades, and that Microsoft did not provide antivirus firms enough advance time to make sure their wares were compatible with new versions of Windows before their release. It claimed the company was using its dominant position with Windows "to fiercely promote its own - inferior - security software at the expense of users' previously self-chosen security solution".

Kaspersky has filed suits against Redmond in the EU, Germany and Russian Federation, claiming the tech giant pushes its own-brand Windows Defender above competitors' software.

Microsoft announced changes to its policies Thursday including providing more lead time for companies like Kaspersky Lab to ensure compatibility with Windows and allowing those companies to produce their own error messages. This means customers can expect Microsoft will have worked through compatibility issues with AV providers before offering the update to customers running that AV, which should prevent third party antivirus apps being disabled due to OS compatibility issues.

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. 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.

One of the key upcoming changes to Windows 10 Fall Creators Update is a tweak to how alerts and notifications are handled for anti-virus software.

In a separate post, Kaspersky Lab expressed satisfaction with the changes.

Microsoft said in response that it is deeply committed to its users' security, and that it is eager to work with third-party vendors to resolve any conflicts. Moving forward, they'll be working closely with AV vendors to help with compatibility issues, will be giving AV partners better visibility, and more.

"We're always interested in feedback from other companies and we engage deeply with anti-malware vendors and have taken a number of steps to address their feedback".

Kaspersky made a complaint to the Russia's Federal Anti-Monopoly Service (FAS) last year, and to the European Commission and the German antitrust authority in June this year.

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