Rival calls foul over Microsoft's delivering Security Essentials via Windows Update
Trend Micro says Microsoft's offer of free antivirus software in update service may be unfair competition
Computerworld - Microsoft this week began offering U.S. customers its free antivirus program via Windows' built-in update service, a move one major security firm said may be anticompetitive.
Last Monday, Microsoft started adding Security Essentials to the optional download list seen by U.S. users running Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7 when they fired up the operating system's update service. The move followed an Oct. 19 kickoff of a similar program in the U.K.
"Commercializing Windows Update to distribute other software applications raises significant questions about unfair competition," said Carol Carpenter, the general manager of the consumer and small business group at Trend Micro, on Thursday.
"Windows Update is a de facto extension of Windows, so to begin delivering software tied to updates has us concerned," she added. "Windows Update is not a choice for users, and we believe it should not be used this way."
If Windows doesn't detect working security software on the PC, Microsoft adds Security Essentials to the Optional section of Microsoft Update, a superset of the better-known Windows Update, or to Windows Update if it has been configured to also draw downloads from Microsoft Update.
Microsoft made a point to say that it was not offering Security Essentials via Window Update, but only through the Microsoft Update service, which also offers patches for new versions of non-operating system software, notably Office and Windows Media Player.
But most users won't understand the distinction because of the way that Microsoft has intermingled the two services.
In Vista and Windows 7, for example, Windows Update is configured out of the box to also poll Microsoft Update. And although Microsoft Update was once optional in Windows XP, new PCs with new installations of the OS now use Microsoft Update as the default update service.
"We welcome competition on a level playing field," said Carpenter of Trend Micro. "What concerns us is a vendor using market leverage to drive its solution in some unfair way."
Microsoft defended the practice, saying it was giving customers a convenient way to acquire antivirus software.
"We are always looking for the most effective and efficient ways to ensure our customers are protected against viruses, spyware and other malicious threats," said Jeff Smith, director of marketing for Security Essentials, in an e-mail reply to questions. "By offering Security Essentials as an optional download for PCs that are unprotected, we make it easy for those who want and know they need protection, but for whatever reason have not gotten around to installing it."
When asked to respond to rivals' anticompetitive concerns, Smith reiterated that Microsoft was not forcing users to download its product. "[It's] an optional download that customers with no antivirus solution can elect to download and install," he said. "[This is] just one of many options available to customers to get security software."
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- HP HAVEn: See the big picture in Big Data HP HAVEn is the industry's first comprehensive, scalable, open, and secure platform for Big Data. Enterprises are drowning in a sea of data...
- What Datapipe customers need to know about the new PCI DSS 3.0 compliance standard This handy quick reference outlines what PCI DSS 3.0 is, who needs to be compliant and how Alert Logic solutions address the new...
- The 12 PCI DSS 3.0 requirements addressed by Peer 1 Hosting This handy quick reference outlines the 12 PCI DSS 3.0 requirements, who needs to be compliant and how Alert Logic solutions address the...
- Defense Throughout the Vulnerability Life Cycle This whitepaper provides insight into how to leverage threat and log management technologies to protect your IT assets throughout their vulnerability life cycle.
- Meg Whitman presents Unlocking IT with Big Data During this Web Event you will hear Meg Whitman, President and CEO, HP discuss HAVEn - the #1 Big Data platform, as well...
- The New Way to Work Knowledge Vault This Knowledge Vault focuses on how, in today's increasingly virtual world, it's more important than ever to engage deeply with employees, suppliers, partners,... All Endpoint Security White Papers | Webcasts