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Microsoft Dodges Antitrust Threat With Windows 10 Antivirus Tweaks

August 10, 2017, 11:57 AM UTC

The Russian antivirus company Kaspersky Lab has dropped its antitrust complaints against Microsoft, over the U.S. software giant’s treatment of third-party security tools in Windows 10.

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. The Russian complaint has already led to a warning from FAS.

However, on Thursday Kaspersky Lab said it was satisfied that Microsoft had addressed its complaints, and it was withdrawing the antitrust filings made in Berlin and Brussels.

The crux of the matter is the way in which Microsoft issues security updates in Windows 10, an operating system that has Microsoft’s own antivirus service, Windows Defender, built into it. Kaspersky Lab took issue with Microsoft’s updates disabling “incompatible” security software, after third-party security developers had only one week in which to prepare for upcoming updates.

“Microsoft uses its dominant position in the computer operating system (OS) market to fiercely promote its own – inferior – security software (Windows Defender) at the expense of users’ previously self-chosen security solution,” company founder Eugene Kaspersky wrote in June.

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However, the two companies have since settled the matter. In a Wednesday blog post, Microsoft explained that it would work more closely with antivirus vendors to help them make their products compatible with upcoming Windows updates. It will also make some changes in the upcoming Windows 10 Fall Creator’s Update.

“We will give [antivirus] partners better visibility and certainty around release schedules for feature updates. 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.

Microsoft addressed another of Kaspersky’s complaints by saying it would let antivirus firms issue their own renewal alerts before and after customers’ subscriptions expire – something Kaspersky said it was blocked from doing.

“Kaspersky Lab and Microsoft have had a long history of cooperation in combatting cybersecurity threats across the world, and over the past months the companies conducted fruitful discussions about how antivirus services should operate in the Windows ecosystem to help ensure a safe environment for Windows users,” Kaspersky Lab said in a statement.