Redmond View

Microsoft Pressed to Defend Windows Defender

Microsoft claims that its antivirus software does not receive an unfair advantage due to being bundled with Windows 10.

Microsoft once again finds itself having to defend its bundling of key features in Windows.

In its complaint filed with the European Commission and the German Federal Office last month, Kaspersky Lab charged Microsoft with using the dominance of the Windows 10 OS to gain unfair competitive advantage by bundling Windows Defender into the OS and providing continuous updates and security patches. Kaspersky Lab argues that Microsoft has created obstacles in the OS that block manufacturers with competing security tools and has pushed customers to forgo third-party anti-malware software in favor of Windows Defender.

Microsoft said it's confident Windows complies with all international laws and that keeping the OS protected is a priority. Nevertheless, Microsoft has also argued that customers often don't need third-party anti-malware software given the capabilities Windows Defender and the security improvements added to Windows 10 now provide.

While Microsoft's marketing bravado is understandably frustrating, such proclamations alone don't necessarily block competition. Microsoft claims efforts regarding the technical issues raised by Kaspersky Lab had not materialized in the months prior to the filing. Microsoft must remain true to its word by addressing any reported problems.

Given that Kaspersky Lab is under scrutiny by U.S. intelligence agencies, including the FBI, CIA and NSA, whose leaders have raised concerns about the company's ties to the Russian government -- claims it has denied -- it would be wise for the two to resolve this matter out of court, if possible.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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