The settlement comes two months after Kaspersky, a maker of antivirus software, complained to European antitrust regulators that Microsoft was favoring its own security software in the Windows computer operating system, disadvantaging other providers. The crux of Kaspersky's complaint is the way Microsoft was forcing its own Windows Defender AV software on Windows 10 users - Windows Defender is built into the very fabric of Windows 10 - while disabling existing third-party AV software that doesn't yet fit Microsoft's compatibility criteria.
These are all laudable changes to make it clearer to the user exactly what's going on with their antivirus solution, and Kaspersky is certainly more than happy with the stance Microsoft has taken here. These include allowing AV firms to use their own tailored alerts and notifications, rather than relying on Microsoft's alerts, to inform users that their security software is due for renewal. The software maker will also provide better visibility of release schedules for Windows 10 updates, giving anti-virus vendors more time to test changes. It will also make some changes in the upcoming Windows 10 Fall Creator's Update. Microsoft has promised to work more closely with antivirus providers on maximising compatibility with Windows 10 and its future updates, as well as modifying how the operating system integrates with third-party security products. As a result, Kaspersky has dropped its anti-trust complaint.
"We believe in a healthy antivirus ecosystem working with us in protecting our shared customers from security threats", wrote Rob Lefferts, partner director of Microsoft's Windows enterprise and security division.
If an anti-virus application's license expires, instead of showing a toast notification that may be ignored by the user, a new persistent notification will be visible on the screen that will remain until the user decides to renew their license or choose to transition to Windows Defender or another third-party solution.
"We are satisfied with the approach that Microsoft chose in implementing FAS warnings as well as with the terms of its fulfillment".
"Microsoft's primary objective is to keep customers protected and we are confident that the security features of Windows 10 comply with competition laws", the company said in a statement. "Kaspersky Lab is also taking all steps necessary to withdraw its filings to the European Commission and to Germany's Federal Cartel Office, stating that it has no more claims for Microsoft to address".
Kaspersky made a complaint to the Russia's Federal Anti-Monopoly Service (FAS) last year, and to the European Commission and the German antitrust authority in June this year.
However, these changes have not been enough for Kaspersky, which claimed that Microsoft is still engaging in tactics such as crippling its products, restricting its advertising ability and even advising users to uninstall third-party anti-virus software.