Microsoft is giving its popular Windows Defender antivirus utility a name change, and it is reflective of the company's increasingly important (and lucrative) decision to branch into cross-platform endeavors. Windows Defender will now be called Microsoft Defender, while Windows Defender Exploit Guard is now called Microsoft Defender Exploit Guard.
This move to rename Windows Defender as Microsoft Defender will more closely align the company's suite of security offerings which has grown to include products like Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP), which is available for devices running macOS, iOS, Android and Linux.
According to Ghacks, which first made note of the name change, recently released 20H1 builds of Windows 10 (version 1905) reflect the name change that customers will see. In a statement to Bleeping Computer, Microsoft confirmed its naming shift, writing:
As part of our continued $1B a year investment to deliver a world class security platform for our customers, we are extending Windows Defender ATP capabilities beyond the Windows operating system. As a result, we are renaming to reflect our cross-platform approach to endpoint security
We should note that this change is in name alone; all of the previous functionality that you were used to in the old Windows Defender-branded products remains the same. Nothing user-facing has changed whatsoever, which is a good thing.
Microsoft is slowly applying the name change throughout Windows 10, and it has shown up in the Windows Security settings, Windows 10 Group Policy Editor, and within the Microsoft Edge Chromium browser (Insider Preview) thanks to the newly renamed Microsoft Defender SmartScreen.
Microsoft late this week reported its earnings for fiscal Q4 and the company’s diverse software and services portfolio allowed it to smash through Wall Street's earnings forecasts by boosting profit by nearly 50 percent compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company's quarterly success was driven in part by its Azure cloud products, Office, and its strong family of Surface hardware.