Windows 10: Expect antivirus changes as Microsoft and Kaspersky bury hatchet

Microsoft has caved to demands by antivirus vendors for more time to ensure Windows 10 compatibility.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Microsoft is also making several important changes to notifications for an expired antivirus subscription.

Image: Microsoft

Kaspersky Lab has called off its antitrust complaints after Microsoft agreed to give antivirus (AV) vendors more time to test their products with new Windows 10 updates.

Microsoft is implementing several changes to how it handles third-party antivirus in the soon-to-be-released Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. As a result, Kaspersky will withdraw its complaints with the European Commission, Russia's Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS), and the German Federal Cartel Office.

"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," Kaspersky said.

FAS in June warned Microsoft it was illegal for it to switch off third-party antivirus and activate its own Windows 10's built-in antivirus, Windows Defender. Later that month Kaspersky filed similar complaints with German and European regulators.

Microsoft subsequently admitted that it did disable third-party antivirus if it wasn't compatible with the Windows 10 Creators Update at its April release date.

Kaspersky complained that Microsoft had, since Windows 10, cut its compatibility timeframe for AV vendors from months to weeks. Microsoft will extend that period as of the Fall Creators Update.

"We will give AV partners better visibility and certainty around release schedules for feature updates. This includes increasing the amount of time AV partners will have to review final builds before the next Windows 10 feature update is rolled out to customers," explained Rob Lefferts, Microsoft's partner director of Windows Enterprise and Security.

Microsoft is also making several important changes to notifications for an expired AV subscription, while making the result of choices in these notifications clearer.

Kaspersky complained that Microsoft barred vendors in Windows 10 from using their own notification system to alert users to an already expired subscription. At that point, vendors were required to use the Windows 10 Action Center, which Kaspersky argued was often ignored by users. This restriction will be lifted in the Fall Creators Update.

"We will enable AV providers to use their own alerts and notifications to renew antivirus products before and after they have expired," said Lefferts.

Another change should reduce the chances of a user inadvertently missing a lapsing subscription notification, at which point Windows Defender would have been activated.

"We have modified how Windows will inform users when their antivirus application has expired and is no longer protecting them," Lefferts explained. "Instead of providing an initial toast notification that users could ignore, the new notification will persist on the screen until the user either elects to renew the existing solution or chooses to rely on Windows Defender or another solution provider."

These changes were decided on following a meeting last month between Microsoft, Kaspersky, and members of the Microsoft Virus Initiative.

They end what could have become for Microsoft another run-in with European authorities over Windows 10 following the recently resolved complaints by France's privacy watchdog over Windows 10 data collection.

Previous coverage

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