Russia investigates Microsoft for allegedly blocking Kaspersky software

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Microsoft is being investigated for anti-competitive practices in Russia, due to a complaint from Kaspersky Lab.

The Russian security firm has taken umbrage with Microsoft’s security software Windows Defender, which it accuses of blocking competitor software from working properly. Kaspersky claims Microsoft is imposing an unfair time limit for third-party antivirus programs to work with Windows 10 upgrades, thus replacing it with Windows Defender.

It said that this compatibility time window has been reduced from two months to six days in Windows 10. As a result, anyone updating to Windows 10 will find that their Kaspersky software is no longer working and they have been moved over automatically to Windows Defender.

Microsoft’s justification for shorter timeframes for software to adjust to the OS is down to the fact that it is releasing more builds more frequently.

Kaspersky filed its complaint with the Federal Anti-monopoly Service (FAS), prompting the agency to begin an official investigation on Thursday into the accusations.

The actions from Microsoft give the company “unreasonable advantages” for Windows Defender, according to Anatoly Golomolzin, deputy head of the FAS. “Our task is to ensure equal conditions for all participants on this market,” he said.

Microsoft, on the other hand, said it has yet to receive an official notification from the FAS regarding this investigation and will respond once it has had an opportunity to review it. “Microsoft Russia and Kaspersky Lab have a long history of cooperation in different areas. Microsoft is committed to work in full compliance with Russian law,” a spokesperson said.

“The company is foisting its Defender on the user, which isn’t beneficial from the point of view of protection of a computer against cyberattacks,” said Kaspersky founder Eugene Kaspersky, where he likened the disagreement to David and Goliath, with Microsoft pushing out other security software developers.

Kaspersky Lab has said it will file a similar complaint against Microsoft with the European Commission.

Microsoft may have an upward battle when going up against Russian regulators, though. The government has consistently favored native software companies and government agencies have been known to only use Russian-built software among staff, citing apparent security concerns.

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