Russia launches probe into Microsoft after Kaspersky accusations

News by Max Metzger

The Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service has launched a probe into Microsoft after Eugene Kaspersky made a number of accusations about Windows 10.

Russian law enforcement is launching a probe against Microsoft for antitrust violations. The FAS, Russia's Federal Antimonopoly Service are apparently investigating the global tech giant after Eugene Kaspersky made a number of accusations that Microsoft is attempting to push out independent security developers.

The founder of Kaspersky Lab recently wrote a blogpost accusing Microsoft of cutting out independent security companies, by privileging Microsoft security products within Windows 10.

While once holding a place as a top security provider, said Kaspersky, Microsoft has been “seizing niche markets: squeezing independent developers out of them, taking their place, and offering users their own products, which in many cases were in no way better.”

Kaspersky used as an example that when you upgrade to Windows 10, the operating system automatically deactivates ‘incompatible' security and replaces it with its own product, Windows Defender. Windows 10 also buries the licence expiry notification on other security products in the Windows Security Centre which, wrote Kaspersky, “hardly ever gets read”.

In essence, said Kaspersky, “Microsoft is gradually squeezing independent developers out of the Windows ecosystem if it has its own application for this or that purpose.”

It comes off the back of these accusations that Russia's FAS is looking into whether Microsoft abused its  position by privileging its own software over third party developers. Anatoly Golomolzin, deputy head of the FAS, said that such a decision results in unfair advantages for the company.

A spokesperson for Kaspersky summarised the cyber-security giant's position in a statement to “Microsoft has created a situation whereby competing security software manufacturers, including Kaspersky Lab, are unable to fully comply with their obligations towards users, which leads to users being less protected, limits users' choice in terms of security solution providers and creates financial losses for Microsoft's competitors.”

Kaspersky Lab has apparently decided, after a long period of direct negotiations with Microsoft, to report the company to legal authorities in a number of different countries as well as appeal the case to the European Commission.

Microsoft has still not received official notification from the FAS, but a spokesperson for the company told SC that despite Kaspersky's accusations “Microsoft Russia and Kaspersky Lab has a long history of cooperation in different areas. Microsoft is committed to work in full compliance with Russian law. The company hasn't received an official notification from FAS. As soon as we get it, we will review it carefully.”

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