Kaspersky tones down threat of antitrust complaint against Microsoft

HANOVER, Germany (Reuters) - Russia’s Kaspersky Lab has temporarily backed off filing a competition complaint that Microsoft is abusing its market dominance to crowd out anti-virus software makers such as itself, founder and Chief Executive Eugene Kaspersky said.

FILE PHOTO -- A Microsoft logo is seen a day after Microsoft Corp's $26.2 billion purchase of LinkedIn Corp, in Los Angeles, California, U.S. June 14, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo

Instead, Kaspersky - who threatened in November to complain to the European Commission - said he would keep talking to Microsoft about changes he wants the U.S. software giant to make before deciding whether to press his case in a few months. “They are listening to us and they made a few changes. It’s an ongoing process,” he told Reuters on the sidelines of the Hannover Messe industrial trade fair. “Of course if Microsoft agrees to all our requests we will not file it.”

Microsoft had no immediate comment, while the European Commission declined to comment.

Kaspersky says Microsoft is foisting its own Defender anti-virus software on Windows 10 users at the expense of rivals, and creating obstacles for independent security software developers to enter the market.

He did not elaborate on his exact requests or what changes Microsoft had made.

But in a November blog post entitled: “That’s it. I’ve had enough!” he complained that Microsoft did not give independent developers enough time to adapt to new Windows versions, did not warn users that their anti-virus software could be replaced when upgrading Windows, and did not always ask users for explicit approval to install Defender.

"Microsoft's actions aren't only making things worse for users and killing off the whole ecosystem of independent developers," he wrote at the time. (

“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.”

Russia’s anti-monopoly commission is investigating Microsoft for allegedly abusing its dominance in the antivirus software market in response to a complaint filed by Kaspersky.

Kaspersky said that case was proceeding and he did not know what the result would be.

Additional reporting by Foo Yun Chee in Brussels; Editing by Adrian Croft