Tech

Kaspersky drops antitrust complaints against Microsoft

Kaspersky drops antitrust complaints against Microsoft

Kaspersky has been running a battle against Microsoft's free Windows Defender software since past year, and that included making an official complaint to the European, German and Russian antitrust authorities. Microsoft has promised to work with AV vendors more closely and give them more time to prepare their products.

Kaspersky, which is facing separate investigation for its alleged connection to the Russian government, had brought an antitrust law suit against Microsoft, following a vitriolic blog post by Eugene Kaspersky in which he pointed out that the baked-in Windows Defender anti-virus package in Windows 10 was often overriding a third-party system like his own. 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".

Almost a year ago, Kaspersky alleged Microsoft made it very hard for security vendors to be included in the the Windows 10 operating system.

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Microsoft will enable AV providers to use their own alerts and notifications to renew antivirus products before and after they have expired. "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", says Rob Lefferts, Microsoft's director of program management for Windows enterprise and security. Now in a new development, the company has announced it would be dropping its complaint in all territories following changes Microsoft introduced in the Fall Creators Update to address their concerns. "This includes increasing the amount of time [antivirus] partners will have to review final builds before the next Windows 10 feature update is rolled out to customers", the company said. The detente comes as Kaspersky Lab is facing mounting accusations from USA intelligence officials and lawmakers that the company may be vulnerable to Russian government influence. "We reached out directly to Kaspersky a number of months ago offering to meet directly at an executive level to better understand their concerns, but that meeting has not yet taken place".

However, these changes have not been enough for Kaspersky, which claimed that Microsoft is still engaging in tactics such as crippling its products, restricting its advertising ability and even advising users to uninstall third-party anti-virus software. The formal complaint to European Union and German antitrust regulators in June, said "hurdles" created by Microsoft limit consumer choice and drive up the cost of security software.

The changes will apply from the next major update, Windows 10 Fall Creators Update.