Microsoft, Kaspersky end dispute that led to antitrust complaint

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

Microsoft will give antivirus partners greater visibility into when new versions of Windows will be released and let them use their own alerts and notifications to tell customers to renew products, the Redmond, Washington-based company said in a blog post. At the time, Kaspersky accused Microsoft of removing its software from users' PCs when they upgraded to Windows 10, turning to Windows Defender in its place. Microsoft has promised to work with AV vendors more closely and give them more time to prepare their products.

Microsoft admitted in late June that Windows 10 prompts to install a new version of anti-virus from third parties like Kaspersky after an update, but it disables the old version if it's not compatible. There were a whole bunch of other related complaints, including a lack of clarity in the way Microsoft informed users that their AV software of choice had been disabled, as well as Microsoft prohibiting AV companies from being able to serve up their own alerts and notifications when an AV product licence was due to expire. It will also make some changes in the upcoming Windows 10 Fall Creator's Update.

Windows Defender has been a standard, basic suite of protection offered automatically to users since Windows 8, but Kaspersky had been concerned that it was abusing that position to squeeze out third party protection.

Kaspersky has now agreed to drop the complaint, however, after the companies agreed on a series of changes to help mitigate Kaspersky's concerns.

Microsoft did not deny these problems but claimed it was aimed at ensuring Windows 10 users has continuous anti-virus coverage even when their anti-virus expired or became incompatible due to Windows updates.

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A Kaspersky spokesperson said: "The company is satisfied with the proposed approach by Microsoft to address the warnings issued by the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS), and its implementation roadmap". The changes have however mollified the company and avoid unpredictable results from the various antitrust committees in the various jurisdictions.

The blog post, which reads as a rebuttal to Kaspersky's antritrust claims, added that Microsoft engages with more than 80 software vendors on forthcoming technical changes through its Microsoft Virus Initiative (MVI) programme.

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.

This is the second such complaint the security vendor has filed against Microsoft, the first one filed in Russian Federation last November.

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. "The more your security solution is compatible with your operating system, the less it affects performance and stability".

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