It looks like Microsoft is going to have to fend off a new antitrust complaint in Europe. This time around, Kaspersky Lab is filing a complaint against Microsoft claiming that the company is using its dominant position in the OS market with Windows to push its own anti-virus software over competing products. This wouldn't be the first antitrust issue Microsoft has had to fight due to the applications it packs in with Windows. Back in 2013, the company was fined for only offering Internet Explorer to customers when they first install the OS.
In this case, Kaspersky initially filed a complaint with Russia's Federal Antimonopoly Service. Some changes were then made to Windows but Kaspersky thinks more needs to be done, so complaints have also been filed with the European Commission and the German government.
Kaspersky has made its issues with Microsoft public via a blog post, in which Kaspersky co-founder, Eugene Kaspersky, explains how he views the situation:
“We see clearly – and are ready to prove – that Microsoft uses its dominant position in the computer operating system (OS) market to fiercely promote its own – inferior – security software (Windows Defender) at the expense of users’ previously self-chosen security solution. Such promotion is conducted using questionable methods, and we want to bring these methods to the attention of the anti-competition authorities.”
Windows Defender was recently a big part of the Windows 10 Creators Update, with plenty of improvements being made. However, Kaspersky believes that Windows Defender results in an unbalanced playing field for competing anti-virus solutions: “We want Microsoft to stop misleading and misinforming our – and not only our – users. We want to see all security solutions being able to work on the Windows platform on a level playing field.”
The post from Kaspersky ends with a call for other competing anti-virus companies to join it in making a case. Obviously, Microsoft disagrees that Windows 10 goes against competition laws. Here is a statement that I received from a Microsoft spokesperson earlier today:
“Microsoft's primary objective is to keep customers protected and we are confident that the security features of Windows 10 comply with competition laws. We're always interested in feedback from other companies and we engage deeply with antimalware vendors and have taken a number of steps to address their feedback. We reached out directly to Kaspersky a number of months ago offering to meet directly at an executive level to better understand their concerns, but that meeting has not yet taken place.”
KitGuru Says: Usually when an antitrust complaint is made, we don't get to see a lot of the case being made. The fact that Kaspersky has made its grievances public is unexpected to say the least. Still, it seems that taking up Microsoft's offer of an executive meeting would be a more productive first step to reaching common ground than jumping into a legal dispute.