Microsoft is Changing Windows 10 to Meet Kaspersky Demands

Posted on August 10, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 26 Comments

Microsoft is Changing Windows 10 to Meet Kaspersky Demands

In a sudden end to a bitter feud, Microsoft says it will make changes to Windows 10 and fully address complaints raised by Kaspersky Labs. As a result, Kaspersky says it is dropping multiple antitrust charges against the software giant.

“We are making updates to our AV partner requirements today that reflect the interests of the community and our shared customers,” Microsoft’s Rob Lefferts writes, explaining the detente with Kaspersky Lab. “We will also implement changes in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update.”

“Microsoft is addressing [our] issues completely, making sure that both partnerships and diversity are preserved on the market for both user and industry benefit,” a Kaspersky Lab statement notes. “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.”

Looking over both company’s explanations of this agreement, one thing is very clear: Microsoft has fully capitulated to Kaspersky Labs and is changing Windows 10, in some ways dramatically, in order to avoid antitrust trials in multiple locales. Kaspersky is getting exactly what it asked for.

Here’s how Windows 10 will change.

Developers will get more time to test their AV products against new versions of Windows 10. Kaspersky had charged that Microsoft doesn’t provide third-party AV vendors with enough time to certify their products against new versions of Windows 10. Now, “Microsoft is providing cybersecurity developers more time to prepare for upcoming Windows updates as well as receive the final Windows builds earlier,” Kaspersky says.

AV products will now be allowed to display their own notifications to users. Kaspersky had complained that Windows 10 prevented AV products from notifying users when their subscriptions were about to run out, and it forced them to use the native notification, burying these messages inside the under-used Action Center interface. But “cybersecurity companies are now allowed to show their own notifications to help users renew security solutions licenses before and after they have expired,” Kaspersky says. “These notifications have to be unmissable.” And now they will be.

Windows 10 will clearly communicate which security solution is active.Kaspersky charged that Windows 10 would silently disable third-party AV solutions without telling users and essentially trick users into believing that the product they had paid for was still working even when it wasn’t. Now, “users will receive clear communication about which security solution they are turning on and what the consequences are of that action,” Kaspersky says. “The toast notification is now replaced with a persistent notification, which will remain on the screen until the user chooses to either renew the security solutions’ license or rely on another security solution … Microsoft has given control [back to the users].”

Note, too, that Microsoft had previously admitted to one of Kaspersky’s charges. which is that Windows 10 silently disables third-party AV on upgrades to new Windows 10 versions. It’s not clear if Windows 10 will be changed to address that particular complaint, beyond that clear communication bit.

Either way, this is a hugely positive and, honestly, somewhat surprising development, given the seriousness of the charges. And it may also help cast some light on recent discussions around the release date for the Fall Creators Update, which may need to slip a bit to accommodate these changes.

Bravo, Microsoft. I don’t get to express this as often as I’d like, but you did the right thing.

 

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Comments (26)

26 responses to “Microsoft is Changing Windows 10 to Meet Kaspersky Demands”

  1. Avatar

    RamenJunkie

    Wow those bottom two. Basically, Kapersky is annoyed that their stupid nagware banners were never seen. Now they get to stay in place until some random user who probably barely understands how to do even the basic settings can figure out how to turn on Windows Defender and uninstall the nagging banners. This feels squarely aimed at the "Pre installed software" market, and I wonder if this will set some sort of precedent for other software getting more blatant pop ups.

  2. Avatar

    Minok

    The key to this being a good thing is that Windows Defender is always given to users as an option and is the fall-back if a 3rd party system stops functioning. So the change needs to build in the API and behavior to ensure that if the 3rd party option does expire and isn't renewed/operational that Windows Defender automatically kicks in and then demotes the 3rd party AV solution to the backup position (from where the user can re-subscribe and re-promote it in the future).


    What we don't want is this to result in a bunch of machines with no AV solution on them, or ones with canned AV bloat ware that cannot be shifted over and the bloatware removed/demoted.

  3. Avatar

    Waethorn

    Windows 10 was the Russian's idea.

  4. Avatar

    Narg

    First, Kaspersky was not the only AV to request these changes. Just the loudest. And, second, I would still not touch Kaspersky with a 100 foot pole. Don't trust them one bit.

  5. Avatar

    davidblouin

    Every time a company has to change to please an anti-trust regulatory body or a competitor, we as customers always loose and this one wont be different .

  6. Avatar

    Chilly Willy

    It is common knowledge that a/v companies develop and release malware and viruses to stay in business. I don't trust any of them. Build your own or buy a pc with a clean MS signature image and never worry about 3rd party AV solutions that spy on you.

  7. Avatar

    CompUser

    On the flip side, I wonder if some AV/anti-malware companies whose software disables Windows Defender will stop doing that. I can't speak for Kaspersky (or any other company), but I used to use Iobit's Malware Fighter alongside Windows Defender, until its recent versions started disabling Windows Defender.

  8. Avatar

    Roger Ramjet

    It would be good if bloggers would shed light whether other AV companies complained. Are there other AV companies? With all the cloak and dagger stuff recently Kaspersky & Microsoft seem more like chess opponents than to take their settlements as purely business ...


  9. Avatar

    glenn8878

    Seems like all positive changes. Microsoft was always consumer blind and deaf. It's about time to listen to customers for once even if coming from developers who service customers. If only they will fix UWP.

  10. Avatar

    offTheRecord

    This must feel like quite the bone tossed Kaspersky's way after recent U.S. actions.

  11. Avatar

    normcf

    There are probably some business customers using this and microsoft doesn't want to give them any excuse to find non-windows solutions for their employees that can use them. This is especially true for small businesses that cannot afford to have a dedicated tech person go around and turn AV back on every time an update comes.

  12. Avatar

    ncn

    Given how regulatory bodies have discovered how much easy money can be made by fining corporations heavily at the slightest whim, it's easy to see why MS decided this is the cheaper course. On the other hand, Kaspersky may have shown others a new form of corporate "ransomware" that may not end well for MS.

  13. Avatar

    StephenCWLL

    We've got it. Thanks for your feedback Kaspersky.

  14. Avatar

    Lewk

    It fills one with good feelings to read this, even though I'll continue to just use Windows Defender as my AV solution.

    • Avatar

      Campbell

      In reply to Lewk:

      Agreed - its now for Microsoft to show users what the added benefits are for using Defender. I would like all the advanced security options enabled for all SKUs of windows. Security from Microsoft should just be a standard that is for everyone.

  15. Avatar

    TheITGuy

    I agree with Kaspersky on the point of receiving final builds earlier, however I don't agree with them forcing Microsoft to allow them to show their own notifications. This will just open up Windows 10 to the mess of popup notifications that all other versions of Windows has suffered.

    The Action Center problem (if it is under used) is a user training issue that Microsoft and AV vendors should be addressing through better interactive guides. E.g when you install a new AV product the post setup procedure should show you where the Action Center is and how to check for notifications.

    On the third point, I'm not really sure what Kaspersky want. It makes perfect sense to disable third party AV products during a major version upgrade, so long as the AV product is re-enabled once the upgrade is complete.

    • Avatar

      Luka Pribanić

      In reply to TheITGuy:

      Issue is that on W10 update MS disables your AV silently, updates OS, and does NOT re-enable AV because that AV version is NEVER compatible with new W10 version, and new AV version usually comes weeks after W10 update. This is issue when you have 100+ PCs with 3rd party AV, and you are forced to postpone or even disable any W10 upgrades while you wait and wait and wait till everything is compatible. And even then, you usually still have to reinstall whole AV solution after W10 upgrade.


      And bussiness usually always has 3rd party AV solution, not because Win Defender is bad, but becuse central management is non existant. And with 3rd party you get central management and monitoring, can adjust AV rules and exceptions, get email AV and antispam, usually firewall as well, and all that within a single console.


      So anyway, I'm glad these changes were made, except the "licence expiration" notifications. But I'd be even happier if MS offered a central management for their own FW and AV, but without forcing down multiple (unnecessary) solutions of their own that pile up to 5x-10x the price of 3rd party AV.

    • Avatar

      glenn8878

      In reply to TheITGuy:

      Users can turn notifications off after receiving them. The problem was not receiving any notifications.


      If you really don't want notifications, don't buy annoying AV products.

      • Avatar

        TheITGuy

        In reply to glenn8878:

        Except you can't really turn off AV notifications, especially if you use the free versions, because most of the "notifications" are spam to try to get you to upgrade to the paid version.


        The only reason that I can see that Kaspersky complained about the Action Center is that they can't use it to push their ads.


        The Action Center isn't perfect, but it's a damn sight better than having half screen popups getting in the way of what I'm doing.

    • Avatar

      StephenCWLL

      In reply to TheITGuy:


      Yeah, I was a little unsure on this myself. Microsoft is trying to move the UI along, and this leads to more of the Control Panel/Settings mismatch we still have. Can developers not keep sending toasts every 30 minutes etc? Surely people can't miss that?

    • Avatar

      Salvador Jesús Romero Castellano

      In reply to TheITGuy:

      Agree. Microsoft shouldn't allow other companies determine aspects of the Windows GUI because of their particular interest, if they mean, as they do in this case, a step back in usability. The action center should suffice, and if it doesn't (and I think it does), the action center must be improved, but for every one.

      Specially with AVs, that just use notifications as ads to convince the user that they are indispensable.

  16. Avatar

    YouWereWarned

    This is preparation for Trump's mandate of Kaspersky as the "Made in the Homeland" solution.

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