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Following Kaspersky complaint, Microsoft outlines approach to antivirus coverage

Following recent complaints from antivirus firm Kaspersky regarding what it sees as anticompetitive practices in Windows 10, Microsoft has taken to a blog post (opens in new tab) to outline its approach to antivirus coverage. And while the post doesn't mention Kaspersky by name, it does address one the bigger complaints levied at Microsoft (via The Verge).

In a recent blog post accompanying its filing of antitrust complaints in the EU, Kaspersky stated that one of its main issues concerned Microsoft's practice of removing third-party antivirus software after an update if it is deemed incompatible. In its place, Windows Defender is switched on in order to maintain constant coverage. Though Microsoft claims around 95 percent of PCs already had compatible antivirus software installed when moving to the most recent Windows 10 feature update, the Creators Update, the company did acknowledge that a certain portion of applications were disabled.

For the small number of applications that still needed updating, we built a feature just for AV apps that would prompt the customer to install a new version of their AV app right after the update completed. To do this, we first temporarily disabled some parts of the AV software when the update began. We did this work in partnership with the AV partner to specify which versions of their software are compatible and where to direct customers after updating.

One of Kaspersky's other central complaints was that Microsoft doesn't give software vendors enough time to ensure their applications are compatible with major updates before they are released. Microsoft's response doesn't exactly directly combat this point, but the company does note that it is actively engaged with other vendors.

We also know that Window customers value choice and that is why we actively engage with and support a community of over 80 independent software vendors through the Microsoft Virus Initiative (MVI) program. This engineering program enables us to share key technical details of Microsoft technologies with our AV partners to collaborate on future directions and problem solve on existing security challenges to protect our shared customers from malicious software.

Microsoft's defense comes from its position that Windows 10 users should have always-on protection. As it explains, that involves using the built-in Windows Defender as a fallback when any third-party antivirus is out of date or expired. Despite its stated intentions, that approach is apparently leading to some of the friction described in Kaspersky's recent blog post.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the Editor in Chief for Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl. Got a hot tip? Send it to daniel.thorp-lancaster@futurenet.com.

46 Comments
  • When I update to creator, some Microsoft core apps refuse to launch. I had to uninstall the AVG to fix the issue.
  • If Windows 10S will be successful for the intended audience, antivirus apps for windows will become a niche product anyway. Here's hoping!
  • What is Kaspersky saying about chrome books and AV on them?
  • Google and Apple don't have a "S" in their names in which people can place a dollar sign. That means that only Microsoft can be the evil monopoly corporation and the others actions are fine. =P
  • Let's rename them Google$ and Apple$ :-P
  • Apple$$$
  • Not at all. If W10S takes off, it will get the focus of nefarious developers, just as Windows as a whole is on PC and Android is on mobile. W10S will suffer from more and more complex attacks if it gets too popular.
  • While I agree with what you said regarding the increased attention from attackers, wouldn't you agree that the app model is much more secure than x86 apps, especially for the target audience of 10S?
  • There's part of it that is, but at the same time, the way these environments run is new and somewhat and unexplored, in a sense. So, the unfamiliarity of the platforms makes them secure. In theory, the way the things are published and exectued does the same. However, I can't help but wonder how secure it actually is long-term. In general, the security of something ends up being directly linked to the value of its insecurity. We don't know what the best and brightest of hackers can do to these environments. What's more, the nature of these platforms is so heavily centered on user information that smaller security holes can do more damage. If someone can get into my W10 PC right now, you'll get...I don't know, some stuff. You have to dig through nasty, complex directories to find anything of value though, like long-term chat logs. If you get into my phone, you'll quickly get into a cleaner setup with a lot more sensitive data, like phone numbers and text history and much more direct ways into infecting other users (social media apps and all that). I can do a lot more damage with someone's phone than the person's PC. None of this makes you wrong. There is a great benefit in the environment shift, just to throw something new-ish at hackers to attack. Maybe I'm right, and there are vulnerabilities hackers haven't bothered revealing or looking for, but it coudl also take them 5-10 years to really dig into that content. That's a great thing for security, not having to worry for a decade because hackers just aren't going after you and aren't familiar in doing it. It's worth a try on that level. Then again, I have lost most of my faith in MS to executre things well on both the hardware and software sides. They're turning into the locked-down mess that I have spent a decade deliberately avoiding with Apple. They're taking control from the user and treating us all like incompetent children in a way I simply do not approve of. On top of that, they're stripping away our power and charging us more for it, thanks to the way they're pricing their hardware (Surface Laptop pricing is a joke, and every Surface Pro model either stayed the same price or got more expensive as they took the pen out of the box, raising costs $50). So, on some level, my thought is that I would like this more if Microsoft hadn't spent the last 3 years conditioning me to never trust them.
  • well...hope is the fuel
  • I uninstalled McAfee after Creators Update. For some reasons, the AV didn't allow some programs to run properly. Now with Windows Defender, it looks fine.
  • They can make antivirus for android since they all like it so much.
    I don't see the problem here.
    Microsoft doesn't go crying to courts when google replace ie/edge unlawfully
  • Kaspersky says they "don't give them enough time to update" this is such BS especially since there are months of insider builds and generally a month of a stable rtm build before an update goes live that they can use. So I'm raising the BS flag they just need to stop being lazy like all Virus Protection companies.
  • Totally agree. Why should we all be forced to wait whiles crapstory get there s@$t together.
  • K is forgetting Microsoft has been through this BS before but actually have recent history to prove they are doing the right thing by protecting consumers. Kasp's lawsuit at this point is the equivalent of going to a car dealer buying a vehicle then driving off the lot without breaks. I say this lawsuit is without merit and should be thrown out.
  • It's the same old whining story with Windows Server, and a product near and dear to my heart , SQL Server. Incompetent companies complains that they have no time to test when, in fact, prerelease and beta versions are available for free for months in advance.
  • There's definitely plenty of time - In fact during earlier builds of W10 Insider Preview there were many companies MS worked with, including Valve (Steam) and some AV companies to make sure their products worked with the next release, I'm sure this would still be the case If they bothered to engage MS on the issue
  • People still use Kaspersky, AVG, etc? I've been using Windows defender or nothing for years! I'm a surfer and really don't need any, but if I do, it's WD.... SCREW KASPERSKY!
  • I use Windows Defender or nothing also. Most AV applications are just a different kind of Malware anyway.
  • I have also been fine with Windows Defender - It had some bad rankings at one point, but AFAIK there is some weird reason certain sites won't review it again or compare it to the competition. Defender is basically their EndPoint protection product that they used to bundle with inTune
  • My ISP gives me a license for NOD32... on all other machines it is Windows Defender.
  • Actually I am looking to switch away from defender, it randomly drive up the CPU/Disk usage to 50+% drive me nut.
  • Btw on the W10M tech support article, there's no comment but here goes. MS what problem are you having?
    - Updating
    I can help you with this issue.
    - pleases do
    Did you try installing updates?
    - Yes
    I can help you with this issue?
    - Please do
    Can i have your name please?
    - Jake.
    I can help you with this issue.
    Ah...f....k leave it
  • So you're problem with the tech support is not only do you give a poor explination of your issue, but you leave before they have a chance to help you? 
  • ...
  • There's no comment section in that WC article but there's a whole damn thread they linked to, THAT's where you're supposed to post, not childishly here.
  • Are you a Windows defender?
  • What? They clearly linked to a WC forum thread where you can continue the discussion you wanted to have. If you didn't see it when you made your off-topic post here, now you know, no need to derail this thread further.
  • I see you've changed your posts many hours later, very odd, for posterity, here's what you originally had in this sub-thread:
    Then maybe you should check the dictionary definitions of comment and thread.
  • The application to join Microsoft Malware Protection Center’s collaboration program would take 5 minutes to complete. Would like to know if Kaspersky  chose to complete the form. https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/security/portal/partnerships/apply.aspx
  • Get over it Kaspersky. When I had it it was garbage. My computer slowed down and failed most of the time to contain threat and eliminate it. I am so thankful to Microsoft. I would 100 times give Microsoft my data and seeing what I do and browse than allowing Kaspersky to trail behind.
  • This article in a nutshell: Microsoft makes money so people are complaining about it and looking for small things to sue them all the time. #Amurica
  • So, I'd like to point out how you have MANY errors in your "understanding" of this article. First, it's spelled A-M-E-R-I-C-A. The thing you said was just dumb. Second, Kaspersky is a Russian company, so the only American involved in this lawsuit is the one getting sued. Third, this isn't about "people" going sue-happy on Microsoft, it's about a Russian company. Good job with the prejudice, and the poor reading comprehension skills, though I suggest you try reading the article before commenting. At least try keeping any racist/sexist/discrimination out of it.
  • You do know what a joke is, right Link?
  • Haha :D
  • Don't mess with my Defender. I have grown to love it as it has matured. And the anti-virus industry is hardly innocent in this battle for the desktop.
  • Is Kaspersky a Russian company..? 👀😅💩
  • Windows Defender is far better than Kaspersky, their product is total crap.
  • Kaspersky completely crashed my system when I upgraded from Windows 10 because it wasn't compatible. If I hadn't backed up before starting I would have lost everything. Microsoft helped me do a clean install and get everything working again. I can't believe Kaspersky is complaining about this.
  • Kaspersky can easily have there staff join one of the Windows Insider programs just like the rest of us. There is a program for enterprise now also.
  • Yes the holy deity Microsoft can do no wrong with Windows 10. Meanwhile Windows 7 share continues to rise.
  • I only use Defender. As Windows transitions to more and more store apps, anti-virus will become less and less important. That's one of the appeals of Windows 10S. I hope Microsoft doesn't do something stupid to accommodate these dying applications.  
  • https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-03-19/cybersecurity-kaspers...
  • Lol. Windows is owned by Microsoft. And they couldn't do anything even if MS will block their software on Windows. Seriously, Karspersky is even crap. If they wanted their AV will stay on Windows, they should've bring it into Windows Store.
  • Every third party antivirus I've had has always filled up my system with things I don't need and eats up my system resources. And yes, I paid for them. That was a long time ago though, and now I only use Windows Defender and Malwarebytes.
  • Anything the Russians want we should do the exact opposite. So since Kaspersky is a know state supported company why do I give a hoot about their removal from PCs. I say remove them Microsoft with all the OS options people have now there is no longer an argument of antitrust monopoly case against the company. Let android chromeos mac and iOS users get their data spied on by that Russian front. Good riddance.