Microsoft agrees to Windows changes after Kaspersky complaint


After filing a 2016 complaint against Microsoft with Russia's Federal Antimonopoly service, Kaspersky filed a similar complaint with Europe's regulators in June.

Kaspersky has been running a battle against Microsoft's free Windows Defender software since a year ago, and that included making an official complaint to the European, German and Russian antitrust authorities.

The last two changes are of course somewhat intrusive, and who has not been annoyed by Kaspersky pop-ups telling us our subscription has expired. Kaspersky had complained Microsoft was favouring its own security software over rivals, and the company has now agreed to give third-party sellers greater access in the Windows OS. "We look forward to our continued partnership with the industry".

The way users are notified of an expired license is also set to change. "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.

Kaspersky told IT Pro that it's happy with Microsoft's proposed changes, and is withdrawing its complaints against the company in all territories. Microsoft shortly fired back and indirectly responded to Kaspersky's complaints by outlining its antivirus efforts in a 1,000-word blog post. The changes will affect Windows updates released globally. They will also make the release schedules more visible and certain, allowing devs extra time for testing.

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.

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But it did admit to temporarily disabling "the small number of applications that still needed updating". This includes increasing the amount of time AV partners will have to review final builds before the next Windows 10 feature update is rolled out to customers. To do this, we first temporarily disabled some parts of the AV software when the update began. This means customers can expect we will have worked through compatibility issues with AV providers before offering the update to customers running that AV. It claimed that the Redmond giant is removing Kaspersky's software in favor of its own solution, Windows Defender.

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.

"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 first filed an antitrust complaint against Microsoft in its native Russian Federation last November, followed by complaints to the European Commission and the German Federal Cartel Office in July.

Kaspersky had told regulators in Europe and Russian Federation that Microsoft was preventing antivirus software makers from competing on an equal footing with Microsoft's products.