In April, we reported that anti-virus company Kaspersky Lab had decided to postpone reporting Microsoft to European antitrust authorities. The company’s CEO said he favored dialog with Microsoft. It seems that dialog has broken down as Kaspersky has now filed a formal complaint against Microsoft to European regulators.
The antitrust complaint has been filed with both the European Commission and the German Federal Cartel Office. Kaspersky has already pushed the same complaint through the Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS).
“We see clearly—and are ready to prove—that 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,” Kaspersky Lab CEO Eugene Kaspersky explains. “Such promotion is conducted using questionable methods, and we want to bring these methods to the attention of the anti-competition authorities.”
The company provides third-party antivirus software for the Windows platform. However, Kaspersky says Windows 10 only gives companies six days to change their software when a new platform build is launched.
Because of this, the company accuses Microsoft of creating a monopoly. Through the initial stages of a new Windows 10 build, users can only turn to Windows Defender. Third-party antivirus providers would not have updated their software to be compatible. Kaspersky also complains that new Windows builds turn off third-parties by default.
Other Key Arguments
Always on Windows Defender: “Microsoft’s antivirus is hardwired into all versions of Windows 10 for home users. It’s impossible to turn it off completely, impossible to delete.”
Windows hampers third party antivirus: “Upon attempts to perform any actions with an independent security solution, users are asked at every step: ‘Do you want to run this program?’, Kaspersky says: ‘You should only run programs that come from publishers you trust’. It’s as if users are about to commit a wrongful action that violates the default settings from Microsoft.”
Limiting of subscription notifications: “For three days after the expiry of a license for our security solution and the turning off of protection, we are forbidden—through our own notification system—from informing the user that it might be a good idea to extend the license so that protection could get back up and running. “Instead … we’re obliged to use Microsoft’s own notification system—now called Action Center—to which many users pay little attention.”
Removal of third-party AV through Windows update: “You’re updating your OS, and … Windows decides that your existing security solution is, after all, incompatible with Windows 10, deletes its drivers (leaving a bunch of useless files (the solution won’t work without the drivers), and in its place switches on its own solution,” the complaint explains. “Windows does this without the explicit consent of users, and also with barely any warning: the notification displays on the screen literally for just a few seconds. Moreover, while this notification states in bold ‘We turned on Windows Defender’, the fact that your existing security solution was removed is in small, non-bold print.”
Kaspersky adds that the amount of blocking behaviour is indefensible and he believes it means a planned strategy by Microsoft to monopolize the AV markets.