Eugene Kasperksy, founder of the Kasperksy security software company, has recently published a long diatribe, aptly titled “That’s It. I’ve Had Enough!“, slamming Microsoft for the integration and actions of Windows Defender which he claims constitutes anti-competitive behavior.
Let’s dissect a number of Mr. Kaspersky’s assertions:
When you upgrade to Windows 10, Microsoft automatically and without any warning deactivates all ‘incompatible’ security software and in its place installs… you guessed it – its own Defender antivirus.
Firstly, it’s imperative for a successful upgrade that all incompatible software is deactivated, and especially incompatible security software. Furthermore, Windows Defender is not “installed” in place of 3rd party alternatives, it’s merely activated, or switched on.
If a user forgets to renew a license, then Microsoft deactivates the existing AV, and turns on Defender.
Surely this is a good thing? Mr. Kasperksy has obviously never dealt with the likes of my clientele who, through sheer lack of computer savvy, could end up with zero protection otherwise. For example– an antivirus trial period ends or a current antivirus subscription expires and the user is oblivious to the situation. Under these sorts of circumstances, surely it’s more preferable to activate Windows Defender’s protection than not?
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. The company is also creating obstacles for companies to access the market, and infringes upon the interests of independent developers of security products.
I seriously don’t see that as the case. I do not consider that Microsoft is “foisting” Defender on anyone, rather merely providing basic protection for users straight out of the box. Users still have a clear choice, stick with Defender or install a third party alternative.
Actually, Microsoft’s actions aren’t only making things worse for users and killing off the whole ecosystem of independent developers; they’re also undermining users’ trust in Microsoft: creating an illusion of security while destroying the main competitive advantage of its platform – openness and democracy.
Seriously!? I would agree with the above if Defender’s protection was mandatory but that simply is not the case. Anyone can choose to install any alternative 3rd party antivirus solution and Defender will then be quietly turned off. So, we have basic protection built-in which is automatically turned off if/when a replacement is installed – sounds about perfect to me.
Sour Grapes or Legitimate Claims?
While I do agree in principle with a some of Mr. Kaspersky’s gripes, it seems to me that the real issue here for Mr. Kaspersky is that, in the past, users had no choice but to install some kind of 3rd party antivirus and that is no longer the case. In fact, Windows Defender, while perhaps not affording the very best protection, is a big improvement over the older Security Essentials and, because it’s lightweight and unobtrusive, often preferred by more experienced/security savvy users.
Perhaps the 3rd party antivirus vendors might be better off producing leaner and more affordable solutions than blaming Microsoft? Regardless, it’s pretty obvious that both sides are ultimately motivated by a common denominator… the almighty dollar.
What’s your take?