Antivirus Vendors Are Watching Kaspersky, Microsoft Battle Closely

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As Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab looks to take on Microsoft for alleged antitrust violations, some other antivirus vendors say they are watching the situation closely to see if they also need to step in.

Late last week, Kaspersky Lab came out swinging against Microsoft, saying that its latest operating system updates allegedly prioritize Windows Defender over third-party antivirus vendors in a way that shuts them out illegally. In a blog post, CEO Eugene Kaspersky accused Microsoft of "gradually squeezing independent developers out of the Windows ecosystem," something he said was to the detriment of customers who want more effective security solutions.

On Friday, the Russian antitrust authority opened an investigation into the issue, saying it will look into whether Microsoft violated country laws that prohibit companies from using their market position to prevent competitors from operating against them.

[Related: Kaspersky Takes Aim At Microsoft, Alleging Antitrust Violations Around Anti-Virus And Windows 10 Updates]

In an email to CRN, Symantec General Manager and Executive Vice President, Norton, Fran Rosch said the company has been watching the evolving situation with Microsoft very closely.

“We’ve been looking into this situation for months and what we’re seeing is concerning for consumer choice and protection," Rosch said.

Rosch said customers are demanding best-in-class security solutions and should be allowed the freedom of choice when it comes to selecting vendors.   

"We believe that consumers should have the flexibility to freely choose their security solutions. Norton is taking action to ensure our customers continue to have the best protection and security performance available," Rosch said.

In an email to CRN, Sophos Senior Vice President, Enduser Security Group and Network Security Group Dan Schiappa said that U.K.-based Sophos, which sells anti-virus solutions among many other products, will be watching the situation between Kaspersky and Microsoft closely.  

“I am sure there is more to this story than meets the eye – on both sides. We will watch with interest," Schiappa said.

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