Microsoft and Kaspersky Lab have settled a dispute that led to antitrust complaints in Europe and an investigation in Russia. As part of the agreement, Microsoft will make changes to the next update of Windows this spring.
The settlement comes two months after Kaspersky, a maker of antivirus software, complained to European antitrust regulators that Microsoft was favouring its own security software in the Windows computer operating system, disadvantaging other providers.
Microsoft will give antivirus partners greater visibility into when new versions of Windows will be released and let them use their own alerts and notifications to tell customers to renew products, the Redmond, Washington-based company said in a blog post.
Windows will also change how it notifies users of expirations, moving from an alert that could be ignored to one that persists until the user takes action. The changes will affect Windows updates released globally.
Microsoft said it held a forum last month with partners on antivirus, and made progress on some of the issues of concern. “We appreciate the feedback and continued dialogue with our partners, and are pleased to have found common ground with Kaspersky Lab on the complaints raised in Russia and Europe,” Rob Lefferts, partner director, Windows Enterprise and Security, said in the blog post.
Kaspersky had told regulators in Europe and Russia that Microsoft was preventing antivirus software makers from competing on an equal footing with Microsoft’s products. It claimed Microsoft wasn’t giving them enough time to adapt their products to Windows updates and hindered the ability to download or renew third-party security programs. The formal complaint to European Union and German antitrust regulators in June, said “hurdles” created by Microsoft limit consumer choice and drive up the cost of security software.
Opened a case
Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly service said in November 2016 that it had opened a case against Microsoft over an alleged abuse of market dominance. The inquiry began after Moscow-based Kaspersky complained that Microsoft reduced deadlines for antivirus makers to adjust to its software.
“Kaspersky Lab confirms that all of its concerns regarding the unfair competition law, raised with the Federal Antimonopoly Service of Russia, have been addressed,” the company said in an e-mailed statement. “The company is satisfied with the proposed approach by Microsoft to address the warnings issued by the FAS, and its implementation road map. 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.” — Reported by Dina Bass, (c) 2017 Bloomberg LP