Microsoft is under-fire in Europe over the way it manages anti-virus in Windows 10. We wrote earlier in the month that Kaspersky Lab has moved ahead with its threat to report Microsoft to EU regulators. The Russian security company believes the Windows 10 is creating a monopoly for Windows Defender.
Specifically, Kaspersky argues that Microsoft disables anti-virus software through Windows 10 updates. The company has since filed an EU antitrust complaint.
Matters were arguably compounded for Microsoft during the recent WannaCry malware explosion. It emerged a Windows backdoor once used by the NSA was responsible for the spread of malicious ransomware.
The company has now detailed how it uses anti-virus on Windows 10. Rob Lefferts, director of program management for Windows enterprise and security, released a long blog post today. It is important to note that he does not mention Kaspersky or the complaint. However, the intention to address the matter is clear.
Lefferts says Microsoft does indeed disable third-party anti-virus software through updates. He adds 95 percent of Windows 10 PCs have compatible anti-virus software, but some still need updating. Interestingly, this is one of Kaspersky’s main complaints.
Windows 10 only gives companies six days to change their software when a new platform build is launched… 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.
While Windows does not prevent a user downloading anti-virus from third-parties, it will always disable old versions once the platform is updated.
“Also, because AV software can be deeply entwined within the operating system, we doubled down on our efforts to help AV vendors be compatible with the latest updates,” Lefferts explains. “By the time the most recent Windows 10 Creators Update released on April 11, for example, nearly all of the antivirus applications that Microsoft tested were fully compatible. In fact, Microsoft’s application compatibility teams found that roughly 95% of Windows 10 PCs had an antivirus application installed that was already compatible with Windows 10 Creators Update.
“For the small number of applications that still needed updating, we built a feature just for AV apps that would prompt the customer to install a new version of their AV app right after the update completed.”
The explanation is unlikely to deter Kaspersky and it seems Microsoft is going to continue with this method. That means the situation will be resolved through European Commission.