Eugene Kaspersky is the man who created Kaspersky Lab, the Russian Internet security company that has risen to become one of the most popular Internet security companies for both consumers and enterprise-class organisations on the planet.
Indeed, who would have ever thought, during the Cold War, that one day many in the West would trust Russian software to protect them?
That however, is the reality today, where Kaspersky Labs products are trusted by millions around the world, if not many, many millions more, and over many years, too.
So, with Kaspersky Lab’s security credentials firmly established as one of the world’s top security players, helping to protect Microsoft’s infamously insecure Windows operating systems, you would think Microsoft would be working closely with the top third party vendors for its OS, rather than trying to actively undermine them.
Perhaps that is the true lesson in this saga - one where you have to, after years of bugs, drive by malware, ransomware and more afflicting Windows - wonder whether it is worth actually doing business with Microsoft and whether Microsoft can be trusted as a partner.
The problem for Kaspersky is that the popularity of Windows as the mainstream desktop OS delivers a market of over a billion computers, so Kaspersky Lab can’t just drop all support for Windows, especially when its products protect many consumer, business and other scenarios, from desktop software to various server side products.
It has built a legitimate business over decades on Microsoft’s platforms - and now it looks very much like Microsoft is actively working against the very people who have been securing the very products Microsoft has unsuccessfully been able to do for decades.
And now, Kaspersky Lab’s founder and CEO, Eugene Kaspersky, has had enough, as you can read in his latest official blog post titled: ‘That’s it. I’ve had enough!’
It’s an absolutely must-read blog post that goes into solid detail on what the problem is.
In a nutshell, Microsoft is not only giving its software partners a week to get its various programs fully compatible with the various new versions of Windows 10 that Microsoft keeps churning out, but it is foisting Windows Defender onto end-users and going so far as to deactivate competing anti-virus programs!
It’s not just Kaspersky’s software that is being deactivated but even programs like CCleaner, with Microsoft then making Windows Defender the default product.
Eugene Kaspersky gives several examples of this happening, including screenshots - and there’s even a YouTube video linked to where a Microsoft speaker actively suggests at the 58 minute and 30 second mark that: “I want you to think about kicking out the third party antivirus because we’ve got a great solution right now and it’s going to be even better in the months to come.”
Of course, Kaspersky gives several examples of how poorly Windows Defender works compared to a wide range of competitors (not just Kaspersky Internet Security) and how Microsoft is using sneaky tactics to get people to think that Windows Defender is ‘good enough’ when it demonstrably isn’t.
Again, Kaspersky blog post is an absolute must read for the full context, but to summarise, Kaspersky states: “We think that Microsoft has been using its dominating position in the market of operating systems to create competitive advantages for its own product. The company is foisting its Defender on the user, which isn’t beneficial from the point of view of protection of a computer against cyberattacks. The company is also creating obstacles for companies to access the market, and infringes upon the interests of independent developers of security products.”
What Kaspersky Lab has now done is to take “the decision to address official bodies in various countries (including the EU and Russia) with a request to oblige Microsoft to cease its violation of anti-competition legislation and to remove the consequences of that violation.”
The action that Kaspersky specifically wants taken is:
“To oblige Microsoft (i) to provide new versions and updates of Windows to independent developers in good time so they can maintain compatibility of their software to Windows; (ii) explicitly inform the user of the presence of incompatible software before upgrading Windows and recommend the user to install a compatible version of the software after the upgrade; (iii) always explicitly ask the user for his/her approval to enable Windows Defender.”
Finally, Kaspersky also notes that the homogenisation of Internet security to the poorly performing Windows Defender standard plays right into the hands of cybercriminals themselves.
Do yourself a favour and read Kaspersky’s blog post. It’s an indictment of the way that Microsoft treats its third party software partners, and by extension - you and me - the people that use Windows.
That said, it’s no secret that I’ve switched to Mac, so Microsoft’s shenanigans affect me far more indirectly than directly, but if Microsoft wants its users and partners to love the company, then it is certainly going about doing so in exactly the wrong direction - just as it did when trying to foist Windows 10 on those quite happily running Windows 7 or 8.1, thank you very much!
Satya Nadella - if you keep this up, we’ll all plainly see that it isn’t cloud first, mobile first or even people first - it’s Microsoft first.
That’s all good and well for Microsoft, but seriously alienating your customers and partners is the recipe for greed - and in no way the recipe for success.