Microsoft Faces Russian Antitrust Scrutiny Following Kaspersky Windows 10 Rant

Third-party antivirus developers aren't happy with the way Windows 10 seemingly goes to great lengths to kick AV programs to the curb in favor of Microsoft's own built-in Defender software, and that has led to an antitrust investigation in Russia. Among the various complaints, the Russian antitrust authority will see if Microsoft abused its position of dominance by rushing the OS to market.

Russia's antitrust suit echos the complaints Eugene Kaspsersky shared in a lengthy blog post blasting Microsoft for how it treats Defender versus third-party AV programs. Kaspersky, who is the CEO of Kaspersky Lab in Russia, said his feelings on the matter are shared throughout the security industry but most are too afraid to say anything publicly.

"Despite Microsoft slowly killing off the independent security industry, so far, we’re the only ones who have bitten the bullet and decided to say something about this publicly. There are dozens of other very unhappy companies in the industry but, alas, they’ve only expressed their dissatisfaction in informal groups, where a lot of correct things have been said, but nothing of significance actually done," Kaspersky said.

Federal Antimonopoly Service

The Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) will now look to see if Microsoft is violation of Part 1 Article 10 of the Federal Law 'On Protection of Competition' (PDF), which prohibits companies in a dominant position from performing actions that might hurt or otherwise eliminate competition.

"Since 'Microsoft' itself develops antivirus software—Windows Defender that switches on automatically if third-party software fails to adapt to Windows 10 in due time, such actions lead to unreasonable advantages for 'Microsoft' on the software market. Our task is to ensure equal conditions for all participants on this market," Anatoly Golomolzin, Deputy Head of FAS, said in a statement.

One of the many complaints against Microsoft is that it "significantly" reduced the time it gave third-party developers to make their AV software compatible with Windows 10, shortening the period from two months to just six calendar days.

Kaspersky also complained that third-party AV software is disabled when upgrading to Windows 10 while Defender gets turned on by default.