Kaspersky will have to think its strategy through, if it wants its accusations to make a dent in Microsoft’s hold of security in Windows 10.
If you are running Windows 10 and do not want to depend on its Defender security tool, you would naturally install a third party security software. Doing so, you would naturally expect Defender to step aside so that security software that you want can takeover securing your privacy. Good luck with that.
According to Kaspersky, Microsoft thinks differently. It has now filed a complaint with the EU and Russian authorities saying Microsoft’s handling of third party antivirus tools is anti-competitive.
Kaspersky’s key argument hinges on the fact that despite your preferences, Microsoft switches you to its own Defender and the room it provides to other developers.
If you are upgrading to Windows 10, Microsoft automatically uninstall unsupported antivirus software regardless of the settings that you have chosen. At times, even if your chosen AV has passed the Windows 10 compatibility check, the OS will revert back to Defender.
And if your chosen antivirus tool is compatible, Microsoft will still display a warning, with a “big juicy” button saying Defender is off and needs to be turned on.
To top it all, in case your antivirus becomes expired, notification messages are buried deep within the Security Centre. You get notified only after 3 days of expiry, which means that you have been unprotected by your chosen AV for these three days, by when Defender promptly kicks in.
If the complaints to the European Commission are successful, Microsoft would have to be more explicit with its compatibility problems so that you can avoid a rude aftershock.
Microsoft will also have to ask you for your approval whenever it wants to turn on Defender while giving outside developers sufficient time to address compatibility issues.
Having being hurdled all of these accusations, Microsoft isn’t sweating: for one thing, it’s not as if it keeps its Windows developer community completely in the dark. The Windows Insider program allows just about anyone to take a look at where Windows is going in the future. It also explicitly warns you if AVs are not compatible.
Given the state of hacking attempts these days, Antiviruses programs are a must have. Regulators may be hesitant to make any move which will potentially leave users unprotected.
Looks like Kaspersky will have a tough time ahead.