• Is Microsoft crushing the antivirus industry?

    Eugene Kaspersky – founder of Kaspersky Lab – thinks so.

    Microsoft’s long walked a tightrope in the antivirus and threat monitoring arena. With the introduction of Windows Defender (formerly GIANT AntiSpyware) in 2005, Microsoft entered the business, jumping into a ring with several billion-dollar competitors.

    Now Kaspersky (who, according to Bloomberg, was “educated at a KGB-sponsored cryptography institute, then worked for Russian military intelligence”) is making distinctly antitrust rumblings. Iain Thomson at The Reg has a good overview.

    Will the stink stick? Russian courts may prove sympathetic. American courts, likely not so much. The opponents have enormous war chests. Could be interesting.

    UPDATE: Peter Bright has a detailed analysis, including a detailed step-through, on Ars Technica. One of his conclusions, which is spot-on, goes like this:

    Regardless of how regulators respond, one thing is clear: they won’t move fast enough to change anything any time soon, because they never do.

    Bogdan Popa at Softpedia notes that Russia’s already launched an antitrust investigation, quoting the Deputy Head of the antitrust department as saying:

    Since Microsoft itself develops antivirus software – Windows Defender that switches on automatically if third-party software fails to adapt to Windows 10 in due time, such actions lead to unreasonable advantages for Microsoft on the software market. Our task is to ensure equal conditions for all participants on this market.

    UPDATE: Paul Thurrott has a balanced essay on the topic on Thurrott.com (Thurrott Premium paywall).

    So what say you, Microsoft? Will you work with Kaspersky and your other software partners to ensure that Windows users are both protected and respected? Or will you ignore this complaint and continue down a road that I and many others worry is too unilateral and too patronizing for many of your customers?