Kaspersky Drops Windows 10 Security Antitrust Suit

Security software vendor Kaspersky Lab on Thursday said it is dropping its antitrust complaints against Microsoft regarding Windows 10's treatment of "third-party" anti-malware products.

Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab had alleged that Windows 10 was purposely impeding such products in favor of Microsoft's own in-built Windows Defender solution. For instance, some Windows 10 versions will disable anti-malware solutions, replacing them with Windows Defender, if the OS finds them incompatible in some way.

Microsoft viewed it as a protection mechanism for Window 10 users, while Kaspersky Lab saw it as an anti-competitive threat.

Kaspersky Lab had lodged complaints to that effect before the Federal Antimonopoly Service of Russia, Germany's Federal Cartel Office and the European Commission. It's currently in the process of dropping the latter two complaints, and it indicated in an announcement Thursday that "all of its concerns regarding the unfair competition law, raised with the Federal Antimonopoly Service of Russia, have been addressed."

Microsoft Responds
Microsoft, for its part, issued an announcement that it has been making changes to Windows 10 releases that reflects recent dialog that it's been having with its anti-virus partners, including Kaspersky Lab. Rob Lefferts, Microsoft's partner director for Windows enterprise and security, outlined some of those changes.

Lefferts indicated that Microsoft will work with anti-virus partners more closely to address compatibility issues before Windows 10 updates get rolled out to customers. It will increase the time that anti-virus partners will have to complete Windows 10 build reviews. anti-virus partners will be able to use their own alerts to notify users when subscriptions are expiring, and these alerts can appear both before and after the subscription end dates. Moreover, these alerts will persist on the screen until users renew or choose another anti-malware solution.

Kaspersky Lab, in a blog post Thursday, noted that Microsoft had addressed its complaints "completely." It looked forward to the changes coming in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. For instance, Microsoft will no longer use Windows 10's fast-disappearing pop-up "toast" notification process to warn users about expiring anti-malware subscriptions, it noted.

In independent anti-virus tests, Kaspersky Lab's software has consistently been one of the front-runners, while Windows Defender, formerly known as "Microsoft Security Essentials," has tended to be lower on the lists. The differences have evened out somewhat for Windows Defender, perhaps, at least based on AV-Test's June Windows 10 test results.

Recently, a Microsoft official had suggested that Windows Defender was good enough such that individuals and organization can "start kicking out third-party anti-virus" solutions from Windows 10. That statement had raised the ire of Eugene Kaspersky, chairman and CEO of Kaspersky Lab, who noted it in a June 6 blog post. Possibly, that's still Microsoft's position, despite the efforts announced this week that seem to be smoothing over matters with anti-virus partners.

Kaspersky Free
In July, Kaspersky Lab announced the release of a free version of its anti-virus solution for Windows systems called "Kaspersky Free," although it lacks the "more robust features" found in Kaspersky Total Security, Kaspersky Internet Security and Kaspersky Anti-Virus. The free version, which provides basic "file anti-virus, e-mail anti-virus, and Web anti-virus" protections, was launched to get more information for Kaspersky Lab's cloud service, called the "Kaspersky Security Network," the company explained in a blog post.

Kaspersky Free doesn't collect personal data and it doesn't push ads, the blog added.

Kaspersky Lab lately has been beset by U.S. political wrangling, with some members of Congress questioning its ties to the Russian government and intelligence agencies and conducting government probes on the issue. That position was outlined in this Bloomberg story. Eugene Kaspersky responded in a blog post that Kaspersky Lab is a global company, and that it doesn't have ties to any government.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.


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