Microsoft And Kaspersky Agree To Truce Over Windows 10 Antivirus Software


After putting legal pressure on Microsoft to provide antivirus vendors with additional time to test their software prior to new Windows 10 builds being rolled out, security outfit Kaspersky is getting its way. Microsoft announced in a blog post that it has agreed to certain changes in the way it handles third-party AV software, which will be implemented in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update.

"We work closely with AV partners like Kaspersky Lab, and at our Microsoft Virus Initiative forum last month, we made great progress in building upon our shared understanding of how we deliver Windows 10 updates and security experiences that help ensure the ongoing safety of Windows customers... As a result, we are making updates to our AV partner requirements today that reflect the interests of the community and our shared customers," Microsoft said.


Here are the specific changes that Microsoft is making:
  • We will work more closely with AV vendors to help them with compatibility reviews in advance of each feature update becoming available to customers. This means customers can expect we will have worked through compatibility issues with AV providers before offering the update to customers running that AV.
  • We will give AV partners better visibility and certainty around release schedules for feature updates. This includes increasing the amount of time AV partners will have to review final builds before the next Windows 10 feature update is rolled out to customers.
  • We will enable AV providers to use their own alerts and notifications to renew antivirus products before and after they have expired.
  • We have modified how Windows will inform users when their antivirus application has expired and is no longer protecting them. Instead of providing an initial toast notification that users could ignore, the new notification will persist on the screen until the user either elects to renew the existing solution or chooses to rely on Windows Defender or another solution provider.
Getting to this point has not been easy for Kaspersky and other third-party AV providers. Kaspersky last year led the charge by calling out Microsoft for heavily favoring its own Defender software in Windows 10. Its lists of grievances was long and included the inability for third-party AV vendors to provide their own pop-up notifications when it comes time to renew. Kaspersky also took issue with Microsoft automatically disabling third-party programs that are deemed incompatible after updating Windows 10.

Things boiled over earlier this summer when Kaspersky filed an antitrust complaint against Microsoft in Europe, after already having done so in Russia. Rather than face potential fines and bring more scrutiny to Windows 10, it decided to make the above changes, much to the delight of Kaspersky.

"We are absolutely satisfied with the changes that will be implemented in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, and we will be taking all necessary steps to withdraw our claims and inform all regulatory bodies that we no longer have any matters for Microsoft to address," Kaspersky said.

And so the matter comes to a close. Given that Kaspersky was the only AV vendor willing to stand up to Microsoft, it is unlikely that additional grievances will be brought forth by other third-party participants, especially with the concessions that Microsoft is making. Likewise, Microsoft does not seem to harbor any ill feelings, at least not publicly.

"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. We look forward to our continued partnership with the industry," Microsoft said.