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Kaspersky Accuses Microsoft of Unfairly Disabling its Antivirus in Windows 10

kaspersky-antitrust-complaint-microsoft
Russian antivirus vendor Kaspersky Lab is so upset with US software giant Microsoft that the security firm has filed more antitrust complaints against the company.

The antivirus firm initially filed a lawsuit late last year against Microsoft with Russian Federal Anti-monopoly Service (FAS) over alleged abuse of Microsoft's dominant position in the desktop market to push its own antivirus software with Windows 10 and unfair competition in the market.

Microsoft ships Windows 10 with its own security software Windows Defender, which comes enabled it by default with the operating system.

While Microsoft has made some changes in Windows Defender since the initial complaint, Kaspersky Lab is not satisfied with the changes, filing more antitrust complaints against the software giant, this time with the European Commission and the German Federal Cartel Office.

Kaspersky Accuses Microsoft of Unfair Competitive Practices

kaspersky-antitrust-complaint-microsoft
The antivirus firm told European antitrust regulators that Microsoft prevents third-party security software vendors from competing on equal footing with software products built into the ubiquitous Windows operating system.
"Microsoft uses its dominant position in the computer operating system market to fiercely promote its own—inferior—security software (Windows Defender) at the expense of users' previously self-chosen security solution," says co-founder Eugene Kaspersky in a blog post.
Kaspersky claims that Microsoft removes its antivirus software from the Windows operating system when users upgrade their systems to Windows 10, and enables its own Windows Defender anti-virus solution.

What's even more? Kaspersky also claims that Redmond doesn't provide enough time to fully test its latest Windows 10 upgrades in order to ensure that its existing software is compatible with the OS.
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Kaspersky also says that Windows 10 generates the pop-up dialogue boxes when users try to run third-party antivirus software. One of its users told Kaspersky that when he upgraded his PC to Windows 10 and contacted Microsoft support team about the disappearance of security software, a support worker replied with this:
"Windows 10 is incompatible with third-party antivirus. It is a shame that you have spent money on a Kaspersky Lab product, but you ca not reinstall it without running the risk of the appearance of new bugs."
In its statement, Kaspersky Lab said European antitrust regulators that "these actions by Microsoft lead to a lower level of protection for users, a limitation on their right to choose, and financial losses both for users and security solution manufacturers."

While Microsoft has regularly been improving its Windows Defender software to protect its users (even those who have never installed any anti-virus software on their systems), Kaspersky argues it is anti-competitive.
"We want Microsoft to stop misleading and misinforming our—and not only our—users," concludes Kaspersky. "We want to see all security solutions being able to work on the Windows platform on a level playing field. And we want to see users being able to decide for themselves what they want and consider important to them."

Microsoft Said It's Their Duty to Protect Windows Customers


In return to this issue, Microsoft released a statement, saying the company reached out to Kaspersky Lab after the initial complaint filed in November 2016, but that no words between the two had exchanged so far.

Microsoft also believes Windows 10 complies with competition laws, expressing confidence that it can persuade competition watchdogs that the company had done nothing wrong.
"Microsoft's primary objective is to keep customers protected. We are confident that the security features of Windows 10 comply with competition laws. And we will answer any questions regulators may have." 
"We're always interested in feedback from other companies, and we engage deeply with antimalware vendors and have taken a number of steps to address their feedback. 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."
Although Kaspersky considers Microsoft's move to enable its own anti-virus software by default on Windows 10 unfair, having a built-in free antivirus tool in this age of data breaches and cyber attacks is very useful for users who can't buy, or don't buy, a good antivirus for their PCs.

However, it's still to be seen what EU regulators decide to do about this matter.
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