We all remember the movie Miracle, where the 1980 US hockey team took on the Russian powerhouse and won. Something similar is shaping up in the OS world. Personal computers have shaped our lives in ways we cannot even begin to fathom. Initially PCs were mostly limited to high end offices. They made their way into government facilities and before we even paused to comprehend, PCs were the preferred devices for work, leisure and entertainment. On most PCs in the world, in every office and every home, Windows has a foothold, and Windows 10 is on a vast majority. A Windows antivirus lawsuit is creating space for the little guy, however.

Fighting the Giants

However, tech giants have always ruthlessly picked on other competitors in their drive for higher profit margins. Google was recently fined a record breaking €2.42 Billion fine by the European Union for abusing its dominance of the search engine market to build its online shopping service. They were found guilty of artificially and illegally promoting their own price comparison service in searches and thereby denied consumers real choice and rival companies a level playing field to compete.

This time around Microsoft has been accused of privileging its free antivirus Windows Defender on Windows 10 at the expense of third-party solutions which were more efficient than its product. Eugene Kaspersky, CEO of the eponymously titled IT security firm Kaspersky, complained to EU courts that Microsoft had deactivated its antivirus software when users upgraded to Windows 10. The Windows antivirus lawsuit Microsoft had also put in a mechanism to ensure that it eliminates competition by disposing of any third party software. Other IT firms have also accused Microsoft of giving insufficient time to third party vendors to upgrade their services for the new Windows 10 version. Microsoft was also accused of disposing of products incompatible with Windows 10.

To the Victor

The Windows antivirus lawsuit by Kaspersky was filed with the Russian and European authorities in June 2017. However both the companies have now announced that they have reached a common consensus regarding the unfair practices. Microsoft announced that it had made changes to its rules regarding third-party antivirus software on Windows 10 and promised to work closely with AV vendors to help them with compatibility reviews. They have also agreed to give “AV partners better visibility and certainty around release schedules for feature updates.” This allows the AV partners considerable time to review their software before the release of the next Windows 10 update.

As per the agreement Microsoft will also permit the AV providers to use their own alerts and notifications regarding the renewal of antivirus products before and after their expiry. When an antivirus application has expired and is no longer protecting a user, Windows will notify the users and this notification would persist on the screen until the user either selects to renew the existing solution or chooses to opt out of the software.These changes will take effect with the release of Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, scheduled for October-December this year.

Earlier this year a Microsoft official kicked off a firestorm by suggesting that Windows Defender was good enough for individuals and organizations to “start kicking out third-party antivirus” solutions from Windows 10. This statement was condemned by the CEO of Kaspersky lab prior to the Windows antivirus lawsuit. While the tech giants have continued to assimilate better software and products that have made work easier, leisure more pleasurable, and entertainment more thrilling, there are consequences of high-end competition as this clash evidently informs us. Sometimes the underdogs really do pull off a miracle.

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