Microsoft: We disabled third-party anti-virus software in Windows 10 Creators Update to keep users safe

Shocked

Two weeks ago, Kaspersky Labs filed antitrust complaints against Microsoft in Europe, alleging that the software giant disabled third-party antivirus software in Windows 10 in order to benefit Windows Defender.

In a long blog post today, Rob Lefferts, director of program management for Windows enterprise and security, admits (without mentioning Kaspersky specifically) that Microsoft "temporarily" disabled some parts of AV software it considered incompatible with Windows 10 Creators Update.

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Lefferts explains that "because AV software can be deeply entwined within the operating system, we doubled down on our efforts to help AV vendors be compatible with the latest updates" and by the time Windows 10 Creators Update launched, "roughly 95 percent of Windows 10 PCs had an antivirus application installed that was already compatible with Windows 10 Creators Update."

But what about the 5 percent that weren’t compatible in Microsoft’s eyes? Lefferts says:

For the small number of applications that still needed updating, we built a feature just for AV apps that would prompt the customer to install a new version of their AV app right after the update completed. To do this, we first temporarily disabled some parts of the AV software when the update began. We did this work in partnership with the AV partner to specify which versions of their software are compatible and where to direct customers after updating.

As for Kaspersky’s claim that Microsoft favors Windows Defender, Lefferts stresses that while the software giant believes in "always on" customer protection, it has designed its own security software to only kick in when "an AV subscription expires, and the AV application decides to stop providing protection to the customer." Although having admitted that it did temporarily disable some third-party AV software for compatibility reasons -- which would have resulted in Windows Defender stepping in -- that’s clearly not entirely true.

What's your view? Was Microsoft right to disable antivirus software that was viewed to be incompatible with Windows 10 Creators Update?

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