Kaspersky Lab, the Russian IT security company, is seeking an antitrust investigation of US software supplier Microsoft, claiming that Windows 10 favours Windows Defender over other IT security products.
Kaspersky has applied to both the European Commission and the German Federal Cartel Office for Microsoft's "abuse of its dominant position in the market for computer operating systems and unfair competition in the market for solutions protecting against computer threats".
A Microsoft spokesperson said:
"Microsoft's primary objective is to keep customers protected and we are confident that the security features of Windows 10 comply with competition laws. We're always interested in feedback from other companies and we engage deeply with antimalware vendors and have taken a number of steps to address their feedback. We reached out directly to Kaspersky a number of months ago offering to meet directly at an executive level to better understand their concerns, but that meeting has not yet taken place."
Kaspersky claimed that when Windows 10 was released, Microsoft started to create obstacles to competing manufacturers of security products, and introduce different ways of pushing users to forgo third-party software in favour of its own Windows Defender.
It argued that these actions limited consumers' right to choose and financial losses for both users - supposedly because they would be more vulnerable to attacks - and security product manufacturers.
In a statement, Kaspersky said that EU antitrust agencies should review whether Microsoft broke competition law. It said that Microsoft had recommended users to replace security products of competitors that had already been installed, with its own product, and even caused hindrances when upgrading, downloading and installing the products of its competitors.
It said this made it difficult for users to work with programs and reduced their level of protection.
In addition, the Russian security firm said Microsoft provided the final build of the new operating system only a few days before public release, rather than two months before as it had done previously. It said manufacturers needed two months to test their products and make necessary changes to ensure compatibility with the new operating system.
Kaspersky alleges that some users who moved over to a new version of Windows 10 find that their drivers of third-party security software are deleted - making it unusable. Then, users are informed that they need to download compatible security software -but Kaskpersky believes this message is "barely noticeable", leading to users losing the previously paid-for license for the program.
Finally, the company said that users are not allowed to full disable or remove Windows Defender, which it claims "violates their right to decide which applications to install and run on their devices".
"Kaspersky Lab believes that all of the above limits freedom of choice for users, and not only creates inconvenience for them when using third-party programs on their devices, but also reduces their level of security," the statement reads.
"In addition there is a danger for users caused by the lack of equal opportunities for all manufacturers of security solutions. Healthy competition stimulates companies to create better quality security solutions that positively impact on the industry in general, and the protection of users in particular," it said.
Kaspersky said that it decided to go to the antitrust authorities after multiple requests to Microsoft were not addressed.
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