Microsoft used to ship Windows without a built-in antivirus client, which seems foolishly naive in this day and age. However, the addition of Windows Defender to the operating system has caused some tension with third-party antivirus makers. Windows Defender has occasionally interfered with other antivirus apps. Kaspersky recently accused Microsoft of unfair practices for the way it deletes the company’s antivirus during Windows updates. The Russian company has now filed a number of regulatory complaints to right what it sees as a tremendous wrong.
Kaspersky began complaining about Microsoft’s activities late last year when it filed a complaint with Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS). Just recently, Kaspersky has made a similar filing in both the European Commission and German Federal Cartel Office.
According to the complaints, Microsoft has a habit of disabling Kaspersky’s products during system updates. In its place, Microsoft activates Defender. Kaspersky contends Defender is an inferior product, but that’s really what you would expect it to say. Founder Eugene Kaspersky also laments the trust check popups that are required when antivirus apps like Kaspersky try to run. He says this is just Microsoft making it harder for third-party AV firms to compete with the built-in solution.
Kaspersky’s main issue relates to the removal of Kaspersky AV during Windows updates, and that’s the subject of the official complaints. Users of Kaspersky software often see a notification after updating that explains the antivirus was removed because it’s not compatible with the new version of Windows. Thus, Windows Defender is enabled. Odds are that most people will be just fine with that and won’t bother to go hunting for an updated version of Kaspersky.
Microsoft regularly disables software during updates if it’s incompatible, and antivirus programs tend to have a lot of moving parts that can be affected by OS updates. Kaspersky claims it used to get several month’s warning to updated its software in advance of such updates, but now Microsoft is only getting a few weeks. If the new version of Kaspersky’s software isn’t ready, it gets removed from PCs.
You can see how Kaspersky would consider this unfair. However, a more rapid update cycle is good for users, as is having a built-in free antivirus tool. We’ll have to see what, if anything, regulators decide to do about this. Microsoft has a complicated history with regulators, especially in Europe.
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