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.
Tagged with Security