Microsoft investigated by Russian antitrust body after Kaspersky complaint

November 14, 2016

Last Thursday, Russian antitrust authority said it had opened an investigation into Microsoft for allegedly abusing its dominance in the antivirus software market.

The Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) is investigating whether the tech giant is in violation of Part 1 Article 10 of the Federal Law ‘On Protection of Competition’ [PDF], which prohibits companies occupying dominant positions in the market from engaging in activities that result or can result in “preventing, restricting, eliminating competition” and/or “infringing the interests of other persons (economic entities) in business activities or consumers at large”.

The FAS opened the investigation upon receiving a complaint from Moscow-based internet security company Kaspersky Lab, which claims to have spent “months of fruitless discussions and multiple exhausting attempts to resolve the issue directly with Microsoft”.

Kaspersky claims Microsoft has significantly reduced the period for independent developers to adapt their antivirus software for the Windows 10 operating system to just six days, compared with two months for earlier versions.

In addition, when a Windows user upgrades to the latest operating system, its antivirus software is disabled, with Microsoft’s Windows Defender system taking over by default.

The same is occurring with other user-installed apps in cases where Microsoft has a competing offering within its ecosystem, Eugene Kaspersky lamented in a blog post.

With only six days to make the changes necessary to ensure compatibility, third-party antivirus software providers like Kaspersky do not have sufficient time to provide customers with adequate service and risk losing them to Defender, Kaspersky claimed.

Kaspersky also said Microsoft conceals antivirus license expiration warnings and automatically activates Defender if a trial period of a third-party product expires.

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