back to article Russia shoves antitrust probe into Microsoft after Kaspersky gripes about Windows 10

The Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) is investigating whether Microsoft abused its position in the market with Windows 10 – after Moscow-based Kaspersky complained to the watchdog and EU regulators. In a lengthy blog post this week, the antivirus biz's founder Eugene Kaspersky argued that Microsoft deliberately used …

  1. whoseyourdaddy

    Umm..

    If Windows 10 apps were only available from their own store, presumably after careful vetting, I shouldn't need AV, should I?

    Whats the point of a closed store if I still need AV?

    Isn't that the sole reason why I've never ever had to zap my Cupertino fondleslab?

    1. Updraft102 Silver badge

      You still would need antimalware programs even with a closed app store.

      In all my years of using Windows (1990-present), the only malware I ever had on any of my PCs downloaded and installed itself without any action on my part other than clicking on a link in the Altavista search results. The formerly legitimate web site had apparently been compromised, and the malware exploited a zero-day in the Java plugin (this was back when people still used the Java plugin and had it enabled by default) to silently download and execute itself (this was in the Windows XP days).

      My HIPS caught it immediately... without it, I would not have known it existed. The malware was not even in the AV databases yet (I submitted it, so it is now).

      Now we know how dangerous the Java plugin is, and there is very little use for it today anyway, but zero-days will always be a threat.

    2. Jeffrey Nonken Silver badge

      As long as you never visit the web, receive e-mail, download files or plug in an external drive... Sure, no need for malware protection. Oh, and don't connect to the internet or insert optical media.

      1. itzman

        As long as you use windows

        ..you need malware protection.

        Its desirable elsewhere. With windows its mandatory.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: As long as you use windows

          As long as you use windows you need malware protection.

          Its desirable elsewhere. With windows its mandatory.

          No, no, no and no again. Yes, I'm happy to admit that we use a lot of Apple gear because it makes keeping it secure EASIER, but to assume that it is impervious (labelling malware protection "desirable", which reads the same as "optional") would be a grave mistake. It certainly takes less effort, but both OSX/macOS and iOS are not perfect - no platform is.

          As a matter of fact, one of the things we need to tell new staff in their introduction course is that better security is achieved by everyone assuming they don't have any and exercise the associated level of caution. Personally, I have Kaspersky on my Mac and also have as yet to run a Linux platform without at least IPtables and ClamAV installed - and I don't run things as root/admin if I can help it.

          Call me picky, but I prefer certainty over religion.

    3. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      "If Windows 10 apps were only available from their own store, presumably after careful vetting, I shouldn't need AV, should I?"

      If a requirement for installation on Win10 is that Microsoft have to be able to vet the code sufficiently to ensure security, then Win10 just lost the main reason anyone still uses Windows (backwards compatibility). Most Windows apps are closed source and the vendor either won't be willing to publish it (particularly, in some cases, to MS), or won't, for 3rd-party-licensing reasons, be able to, or won't have the code anymore, or won't exist anymore. This "careful vetting" you speak of simply isn't possible in those cases. Even if it were, to be "sufficiently careful" would require prolonged study by people rather more expensive than MS are going to be willing to spare for the task.

      As for your iPad, I suspect that running all apps in a sandbox has something to do with it. Non-Apple apps are typically quite restricted in what they can do. This brings security at the expense of flexibility. PCs traditionally made the opposite trade-off.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    His concerns are valid

    I am surprised there are no similar complaints in the Eu and Justice department queue.

    Probably FAS just moved a bit faster in this case (the rumor is that it is good to speak Bear to the Bear).

    1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: His concerns are valid

      It seems as if Slurp was trying to be just on the edge of legal but someone complained in country whose MoJ will listen and actually do something about it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: His concerns are valid

        "but someone complained in country whose MoJ will listen and actually do something about it."

        In a country with a publicly stated interest in getting away from as as many none homegrown products as possible.

    2. 404 Silver badge

      Re: His concerns are valid

      'I am surprised there are no similar complaints in the Eu and Justice department queue.'

      Silicon Valley has been practically living in the White House for some time... unlike El Reg, politicians are not going to bite the hand that feeds them.

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        Re: His concerns are valid

        Er.... Since when is Redmond (Washington) in silicon Valley(California)?

        Otherwise, you are pretty close to the mark. I think this may change with the new resident in the White House (come January 20)

        1. Fred Tourette

          Re: His concerns are valid

          Yes, the West Washington Redmond Beast (or non-political Gates) discovered the value of kissing ass in East Washington, but Silicon Valley is no stranger to lovin' and schmoozin' D. C. either Money still speaks the loudest in D. C., but a new breed of money is joining the ranks of those who own the country now. Bezos, Brin and Zuckerberg moved in to guest suites ages ago.

      2. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Linux

        Re: His concerns are valid

        "unlike El Reg, politicians are not going to bite the hand that feeds them."

        good one.

        Some of what was discussed in the (unfortunately short) article was discussed over a year ago by insiders, particularly with respect to Defender and its tenaciousness for "being installed". Other AV vendors are basically at its mercy.

        Micro-shaft has done so *MUCH* wrong with Win-10-nic, that yeah, it's about TIME something is done. But too many people just GO ALONG WITH THIS KIND OF CRAP without pushing back.

        And so, Micro-shaft STAYS in business, and continues with these *kinds* of built-in policies, virtually unopposed.

        [only a competing product that people are willing to adopt will destroy their house of cards. any guess as to what that might be?]

        1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

          Re: His concerns are valid

          "[only a competing product that people are willing to adopt will destroy their house of cards. any guess as to what that might be?]"

          A Mac?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: His concerns are valid

            "A Mac?"

            Hahahahahahahahahahahaha. No.

            Picking between Windows and MacOS is like choosing your favourite terminal illness.

          2. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

            Re: His concerns are valid

            "A Mac?"

            Thanks for thumbing down what was very obviously a joke, given the Linux icon of the poster...

            On a more serious note, macOS is nowhere near as annoying as Windows 10.

            Nor is Apple anywhere near as blood pressure increasingly annoying in the way they treat the end user.

            Like Windows 10's infuriating:

            "do you want to reboot right away, or any other inconvenient time I offer?"

            (You dumb effing end user -MS thought-bubble)"

            And if you are a Unix guy, like me, you can always use the macOS Unix stuff and enjoy it.

          3. Fred Tourette

            Re: His concerns are valid

            I've been trying for years with a small group of stubborn Penguinheads to make it be Linux, but so far all I have to show for it is the ability to use most websites without using Internet Exploder, er, Edge. Oh, and, LibreOffice can actually open an Excel sheet now without blowing it up. Most of the time.

            But from what I've seen of Win10 - and I've seen a bit more than just looking over the shoulder of someone using it - the effort has been worth it. Man am I glad to be untethered from the Beast, save for the occasional boot into Win7 for some legacy applications that I can't easily get rid of. (Each to his own, but I find dual-booting simpler and easier than WINE.)

        2. VinceH Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: His concerns are valid

          "[only a competing product that people are willing to adopt will destroy their house of cards. any guess as to what that might be?]"

          RISC OS!

    3. joed

      Re: His concerns are valid

      I'm surprised EU is sleeping through this one. MS is repeat offender (that they've fined for IE) and forced "upgrade", constant resetting of default apps, forcing Bing as default search, O365 and pervasive information gathering back to the mothership deserves a closer look. Lets hope this happens before it's too late (as the chokehold MS have on PC and enterprise PAS markets has never been this strong).

      1. PNGuinn
        Devil

        Re: His concerns are valid

        Toothless regulators have been gumming at Slurp for as long as I can remember.

        Why they are toothless is left as an exercise for the reader.

        In any case with that load of shysters, getting 'em to play fair is like spending your whole regulatory career trying to shovel runny sh1t uphill on a hot day.

        Maybe it's time to do something a little more radical - force 'em to release the WHOLE of the source code publicly so that anyone can start a wormery.

        If their product's so good AND clean they'd have nothing to fear.

        Perhaps it'd not need to be FOSS - unless they tried to get shirty.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: His concerns are valid

          I agree with pretty much all your points here mate.

          With one minor exception which is that I would swap the word "toothless" for one or all of the following:

          1. Inept

          2. Bought

          3. Corrupt

        2. mhenriday
          Boffin

          Re: His concerns are valid

          «In any case with that load of shysters, getting 'em to play fair is like spending your whole regulatory career trying to shovel runny sh1t uphill on a hot day.» And back in old Corinth, Sisyphos had it easy....

          Henri

  3. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    6 days of compatibility testing

    That's not unfair - from what I have seen it's an even playing field. The entire operating system seems to have had 6 days of compatibility testing.

    Although, come to think about it - it's been out about a year now and they still haven't managed to get winhlp32 working yet for all my old applications.

    1. JustNiz

      Re: 6 days of compatibility testing

      You could install the wierd linux under windows thing then apt-get wine :-)

      1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

        Re: 6 days of compatibility testing

        "You could install the wierd linux under windows thing "

        Is there such a thing now, apart from running in an emulator such as VMWare or VirtualBox?

        Or are you refering to creating a Linux file system in a file that resides within the Windows filesystem?

  4. HAL-9000
    Meh

    Déjà vu

    Haven't we been here before? am I going crazy and imaging M$ have already been smacked down for just this. I do hope M$ get another EU-anticompetition spanking

    You must check out the youtube clip Eugene directs you toward, very blatant indeed.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Déjà vu

      This does smell of the browser wars. History repeating itself?

      1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

        Re: Déjà vu

        "History repeating itself?" - Probably because Slurp has not truly learned their lesson and will not until some of the C-Suite and board face real criminal charges (not likely to happen) or the market shifts away from them very quickly (more likely if by a narrow margin).

        1. PhilBuk

          Re: Déjà vu

          Agreed. What they need is the 'Emergency Flush' shown in MIB 2. In would preferably include the C-suite crowd, all of Marketing and the Licencing Division. The destination would not, however, be a safe haven. Cue rotating knives, boulders running down the corridor, etc..

          Phil.

  5. whoseyourdaddy

    You bring up a very good point. Browsers can still be an attack vector.

    But, for years, Tumblr on my iPad harmlessly sends me to the app store to download some grotty game app. Fuck no. Back to the pr0n.

    If the browser is only allowed to jump to the Microsoft store, Problem solved?

    I am fond of the idea that 99% of generic desktop users out there use a more secure platform to cut down on DOS attacks. They don't care what it is as long as it does more than last year and doesn't screw up at critical times.

    But, you got me there on Java.

    As an electronics designer, an app or two halts if I don't have JRE installed.

    Still on Windows7? Yup.

    1. PNGuinn
      Pirate

      @ whoseyourdaddy

      "You bring up a very good point. Browsers can still be an attack vector."

      Waddya mean can?

    2. Richard 12 Silver badge
      Facepalm

      As an electronics designer

      How will you get your design tools if the browser won't download the installers?

      How will the design tools come into existence if the developers' computer won't run the compiler or the resulting application?

      iOS and Android "apps" only exist because macOS, Windows and Linux still allow the user to run arbitrary code of their choosing.

      If that should cease, then there will be no new software for anyone at all.

      If macOS locked down, iOS and macOS would be dead within a year - no new apps, no fixes to existing ones.

      If Windows locked down, it would be dead in six months or less.

    3. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

      "Browsers can still be an attack vector."

      But in reality, isn't it the edn user that's the attack vector?

      Clicking on anything, and allowing anything.

      I suspect real zero-days are in a very small minority, given how easy it is to just make end users do what you want.

      Just install this downloader exe to get your free usually expensive app..

      Since legit apps such as Firefox use the same method, users are conditioned to allow anything to run to then download what they want. Guess the attack vector is to make sure that you come up at the top of Google searches..

  6. dvv

    Love that copy-n-paste of a Russian proverb. A gold star for the effort, you kids ;)

    1. Jess

      re: copy-n-paste of a Russian proverb.

      >> Друг познаётся в беде́

      > A gold star for the effort

      But not for the implementation.

      Russian Cyrillic does not contain 'е́'

      That would be a stress mark added for the benefit of us latinistas learning the language.

      1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

        Re: re: copy-n-paste of a Russian proverb.

        A more appropriate proverb might have been "Без кота мышам раздолье" (loosely, without the tomcat the mice are free)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: re: copy-n-paste of a Russian proverb.

          Continuing the Tomcat's meme: one describing Microsoft's reaction.

          "А Васька слушает, да ест"

          Explanation for those not fluent in the language of the Bear. When Krylov, translated Lafonten's interpretation of Aesop's fables he added a couple uniquely Russian ones. One of them is the fable about the Cook and the Cat. The Cook catches the cat (Васька) in the act of stealing a huge slice of ham. So he starts to chastise the cat: "You, bad kitty, yaddah... yaddah..". The cat listens, and continues eating - it is ONLY being chastised. No stick, so no reaction. Dinner must be continued.

          So Microsoft's response is "And Vaska listens and continues eating".

  7. Florida1920 Silver badge
    Holmes

    Microsoft had no comment at time of going to press.

    Their dodgy security software prevented them from hearing about the problem.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    times they are a changing

    It used to be that windows had no antivirus protection. So we've come a fair way in getting some installed from the start.

    Does Win10 actually stop two (non defender) security suites being installed and running at same time or are its nagging reminders just really heavily advising against it.? Wouldn't it be a. drain on resources and source of possible conflicts

    Personally the machine I'm typing this on has Avast and I've never had any system messages complain about it

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If it wasn't for Flash none of this would even be a problem!

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      FAIL

      "If it wasn't for Flash none of this would even be a problem!"

      don't forget Intarweb Exploiter itself (and 'Edge'). "Security Craters R Us".

      These from the company that put ActiveX support into their browsers and thought it was "cool"

      (and, HOW many people STILL use Intarweb Exploiter and 'Edge' ???)

  10. GreggS

    Kasperksy

    I've had absolutely no issues with running Kaspersky on my three Windows 10 machines, so i don't see where they are coming from on this. It seems like they're complaining after the horse has bolted.

    1. Lars Silver badge

      Re: Kasperksy

      I think you should read the article again, you are alright because:

      "Win 10 users can only run two security suites on their systems – Defender and one other."

      But if you have for instance Avast then, as far as I understand (not using Windows), you will not be able to add Kaspersky. And I have a feeling we all know why MS has decided to do this.

  11. ardubbleyu
    FAIL

    It's all about choice. If you deal with Microsoft, you don't seem to have much... I have used Kaspersky for many years 'cos I am happy with the protection it gives me. I should be able to make a choice in that. No one fundamentally trusts MS with anything security related - too much bad history. Defender is not needed as a core part of the OS.

    1. Howard Hanek Bronze badge
      Unhappy

      Defender

      Defender is there ONLY to defend MS from piracy.

      1. nijam

        Re: Defender

        > Defender is there ONLY to defend MS from piracy.

        MS is there only to defend users from privacy.

    2. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Now, now, can't have some non-USA product flagging our own agency-generated malware can we?

  12. Howard Hanek Bronze badge
    Unhappy

    Reset of Defaults

    The reset of default applications has been the bane of every Windows user.

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: Reset of Defaults

      They even reset the option to hide an update every bloody time. No, MS, I don't want to install Silverlight on my damn servers...

  13. Adam Jarvis

    Given how stable Windows 10 1607 AU is of late...

    Given a fully updated, Windows 10 1607 AU has become fairly stable and useable of late, Microsoft would be as well giving users a 12 month 'Update Pause' on the release of Windows 1703 Creators Edition, before an update is forced.

    Forget this 'one Windows' bollocks, it isn't. There are will be 4 distinct versions by then, Windows 10 1507, Windows 10 1511, Windows 10 1607 + Windows 10 1703. Without even getting into all the variations of Home/Pro/Enterprise, and the list of updates each require.

    Over the Past 18 Months its felt like living in a Classic Art-Deco Bungalow as a building site (yes, its a bit drafty), while the house around is demolished and rebuilt as a modern McDonalds Mansion, yes, a lot is better, but with the new, comes change.

    You still have to go to work each day, eat, sleep, wash your cloths, feed/protect a family and generally use what's around you, while this building work is carried out around you. Afterwards, you need a bit of time, to accept the new.

    Microsoft - give User's a chance to accept Windows 10. At this moment, its a Calm before the storm, again. It's reached a pretty good point.

    Or is the reason Microsoft don't want to do the obvious, exactly what Kaspersky claim?, a constantly shifting platform gives Microsoft Products a technical advantage (it does).

    There is some merit in that. It's has felt like a constantly shifting platform beneath your feet these past 18 months.

    1. Vince

      Re: Given how stable Windows 10 1607 AU is of late...

      Which is precisely why I am not using Windows 10. Constantly shifting goalposts when it doesn't help you get things done is not what I need.

  14. chivo243 Silver badge

    I remember days of people howling at MS because selling Windows without AV was tantamount to selling an auto without a seatbelt. Now a company that built their business on filling MS's void is moaning.

    Just goes to show, you can't please everyone...

    1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
      Linux

      Yeah but the seatbelt m$ sells/gives away breaks if you are doing more than 25mph and only fits around the standard average american.

      And after you fit a decent one, m$ upgrades the car, removes the decent one and installs its crappy one again.

      Which brings me to a very old and wise quote

      "What an odd game, the only way to win is not to play"

      1. Voland's right hand Silver badge
        Devil

        "What an odd game, the only way to win is not to play"

        Wrong quote:

        RIP Leonard Cohen:

        Everybody knows that the dice are loaded

        Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed

        Everybody knows the war is over

        Everybody knows the good guys lost

        Everybody knows the fight was fixed

        The poor stay poor, the rich get rich

        That's how it goes

        Everybody knows

  15. alain williams Silver badge

    Maybe they should be thanking MS

    for having a market in the first place. If it was not for the insecure operating system they would not have found a hole in the market.

    Me: never run MS Windows on my own machines, never had a virus/... *n?x has kept me safe.

  16. Joe Montana

    Bite the hand that feeds you

    As much as these vendors don't like what MS is doing, their entire business model is also 100% dependent on MS and would not exist without them.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hello, Orange Chief, Vlad here

    Sort those Redmond hippies out.

  18. Cyberhash

    Who would actually want to run 2 security suites at once ???

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I was always advised never to run more than one AV at the same time, as they would most likely clash with each other and cause problems.

      Have things changed in Win 10?

  19. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Tried to install Symantec Endpoint Protection on Windows 10 - it sulked majorly.

    Asked the supplier to assist, never got it to work.

    Not impressed, really.

  20. Dominic Thomas

    Not a zombie yet

    Kaspersky says that MS is "killing off the independent security industry", but that just doesn't seem true. The early suppliers that have been around for decades are still very much in evidence - McAfee/Dr Solomons, Norton/Symantec, Avira, Avast, F-Secure, AVG, Sophos et al are still apparently going strong.

    So are all the second-tier companies like Panda, BitDefender, ESET and Trend... Plus the specialists like Webroot, Clearswift and Mimecast, and all the little niche products for enthusiasts like ComboFix, Hitman and VoodooShield.

    A quick look at a few "best antivirus 2016" review articles shows at least 30 different vendors, a good few of which are so new that I have never heard of them. And that is not including the various anti-spyware offerings, which arguably are exactly the same thing these days.

    This is hardly a dying industry!

  21. Dave 15

    windows 10

    I have it on a new machine, about to upgrade it to windows 7

    10 is crud. For heavens sake even trivial things like playing a dvd are now impossible without going and downloading new software. Each time I try and use office it wont let me do this that or the other without clicking some pointless popup... for heavens sake if I want to edit a damned document let me! If you can't fix your damned software so that it doesn't allow some other person to screw my machine over then recruit some proper engineers.

    Perhaps I might scrap that upgrade and go for linux

  22. arctic_haze Silver badge

    Out of the frying-pan into the fire

    I have no idea how this idiom would sound in Russian. However I know that with Windows 10 all may data go to Redmont (and presumably to Washington), while adding Kaspersky Labs creates the possibility that the renamed KGB will also laugh reading the jokes I type.

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