Security Firms Cry Foul over Microsoft Distributing Free AV via Windows Update



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For years people criticized MS for not providing better security. Then they go out, buy a very well respected company who provides a terrific product, and then make that product free, and the problem is....

Panda is so transparent here. They can't criticize the product because the reviews have been overwhelmingly positive, so out of fear they attack the distribution. Hey Panda I got my ATI drivers through MS update, are you going after them next?                                                                    



Not only should they offer this through Win Update, they should pre-bundle MSE with ALL copies of Windows from here on out. They do this with Firewall software and nobody complained. I've had to work on more PCs that had expired AV than for any other reason. Good lookin out MS, and preload MSE with Windows 8.



If MS were to bundle this with Windows, just like the firewall, when a different app gets installed then the MSE would simply be disabled, just like if you install another firewall, the Windows one is disabled. Not hard to do.


But having this bundled in would mean that Norton, McAfee, etc would have a harder time spinning their bloatware to computer manufacturers...



Leave Microsoft alone. This would be funny if it wasn't so stupid. I don't always agree with the way Microsoft does things, but offering a free antimalware product that seems to do what it promises to do is a welcome thing in my view. When I heard that MS was replacing OneCare with a free product I said "Amen". I've been using it ever since it was still in beta and have had no issues at all on three machines. Let the other guys make a fuss. they have had a free ride for long enough allready.



"Windows Update is not a choice for users, and we believe it should not be used this way."

Having seen the usual family PC, WU is a choice. I feel that working, free AV > shitty, paid AV.


Righteous Fury

I think it is great for MS to be offering this, and why not? I paid enough for the damn OS. If they want to offer some protection with it against those of us who are less scrupulous, I'm all for it. Actually, this is one of the few times I think they are actually taking a step in the RIGHT direction... now if I could just get those MS/J.Seinfeld commercials out of my head... AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!



It's an OPTIONAL download for crying out loud.  It's not installed unless the user takes action TO install it.  They must make the choice.

And my experience with both Symantec and McAfee over the last 3 years has shown me that they don't have a damned clue how to stop the worst type of malware these days, the rogue antispyware programs.

If MSE can do it better, so be it.

Personally nothing but NOD32 will ever be on my machines, but I do use MSE on my Virtual Machines.  I can't see using up rather expensive licenses on VM's.


If only MSE would install on Windows Home Server, which is a natural choice for MSE since almost no one makes AV for WHS, and those that are available are either t4reated as corporate installs (c'mon AV companies, get a grip) or not that well integrated.



First, and most importantly, MSE is an optional update, not critical. For the "set it and forget it" customers, they won't get it, even if they don't have anti-virus or anti-malware installed...they won't even know it's available. You must manually go to WU and look for it and check the box to download and install it.

This is the opposite of what MS does with IE: when you install XP clean, IE8 is listed with the criticals. Because it would be a mistake to install IE8 on XP, you uncheck it and set to which point, the next time you hit Windows Update, IE7 is listed with the criticals. Up until about 2.5 years ago, an IE upgrade via WU was optional.

Second, many people still think that MS sells OneCare. They don't know that OneCare was deprecated in favor of a free utility.

Third, it's not so much anti-virus that MS is trying to's anti-malware. Trojans, rootkits, worms, keyloggers and scareware are the big money-makers for organized crime...not viruses.

Fourth, there are people who don't believe they need security utilities simply because they "surf safe" and never open attachments they aren't expecting. Heck, I had to correct some idiot at Anand's just last month about this: organized crime is purchasing ad space with popular sites to do drive bys. You all might recall what happened at Anand's, Tom's, and with Murphy a couple of weeks ago...heck, even MSN Messenger once got hit. And who's to say your friend's machine didn't get compromised just before he sent you that latest expected attachment in email?

MS scans the machine. They detect an idiot at the keyboard. They offer a solution to prevent that idiot from ruining the Interwebs for the rest of us.

And somebody has to bitch about it. Yippee.



Looks like MS is brushing aside their previous mega anti-competitive fine in EU and Americas.

What's another $1B for MS eh?



I think this is a tremendous idea.

Microsoft discovers that your computer is unprotected and gives you a free anti-virus program, so that you are protected in the future.

Better than the alternative. Microsoft stated just last month that all infected computers should be quarantined. I agree with that thinking in as much as most virus' are spread from other infected computers.

So, the other AV companies are complaining that it is an unfair business practice. Sorry, but I feel Microsoft is helping us all in eliminating the spread of virus'.

"let them eat cake!"



I am shocked that I came across this article. I know a lot of people that don't even know what a antivirus is, yet alone don't really know how to use a computer properly. Most of the masses all they care is youtube,facebook,myspace, or any other social networks. More reasons I think is the best move Microsoft made.

Do you really think that the average joe is really going to be paying attention to this sort of stuff, yet alone how to stay protected?? So why are the other companies bitchin about this, because the simple fact they will lose profit over this!. This is outrageous.


Sad world.



""Microsoft just doesn't get it... Security is about diversity," Panda took things a step further in its criticism of both Security Essentials and how it's being distributed."

Catch 22, if MS doesn't patch or provide security everyone points fingers at MS.  Once MS steps up and provided security and protection for their OS (Which I feel is there responsibility and should have been since Win95) then it starts hurting the bottom line for companies that have been making a living off the shortfalls of MS operating systems for years.

Can't have it both ways folks.  Personally I like being able to have all my updates managed and from one central place.  It keeps me from having to micro manage OS updates, AV updates, Firewall updates from different vendors.  I have a choice and Security Essentials wasn't forced on me I installed it of my own free will.



It's not stated in this article (and I haven't read the blog yet), but the MS AV app is only offered IF YOUR PC DOESN'T HAVE ANYTHING ELSE INSTALLED!

I first noticed it on a PC I was building for work and the AV app hadn't pushed out to it yet, during the Windows update stage the security essentials got offered. On another machine which already had our company AV software installed, nothing was offered. It's not like this application is force uninstalling existing antivirus, or installing in addtion to existing antivirus.

All these other companies need to pull their heads out of their asses and quit bitching about stupid things!

Where's the lawsuits against Apple for forcing Mac users to use only Safari and having to go out on their own to find an alternative browser, or what about iTunes being the only app that will sync with an iPod or iPad? (all other apps run the risk of meeting up with Apple lawyers). Or what about the iPhone only being offered on AT&T? Hmm?



So you COMPLETELY missed the furor when Apple tried to trick/force any user running quicktimes/itunes to download Safari? and the lawsuits about things like jail breaking phones being legal but Apple still circumventing it?

This IS distinctly anti-competetive, because it counts on the ignorant masses of users not knowing any better. It is markedly parallel to when Microsoft started bundeling IE with Windows, which lead to Internet Explorer 6 on 80-90% of computers in the world. And that wasn't because it was a superior or better marketed product, but because it was simply what everyone knew and accepted for lack of education about other products. In this case, anyone who allows their pay AV license to lapse, or whose free AV doesn't start while they are loading microsoft update may get offered Security Essentials without knowing about their options because "Windows will fail to detect a valid security solution". So you quickly come into a situation where another company is getting booted off the system in favour of a defacto microsoft solution.



Ok, the Safari/iTunes thing is a little different. All of a sudden, without warning you'd find Safari installed on your system if you had QuickTime or iTunes, because of the Apple auto-updater which would just install all willy nilly on its own and not disclose anything. Unless you manually updated. MacOS forces it's users to use Safari unless they go out and get something else. How is that not different from MS Windows? Oh, that's right. Microsoft is the big bad company, and Apple is the little guy who never got a chance.... Byte me!

The Microsoft Security Essentials is an optional software package that gets installed if no exisiting antivirus software is detected. It's not a critical update which gets installed automatically with automatic updates. It's optional. In fact the user has to manually select the option if they manually check for updates.

Did you not read what I posted. I clearly stated that IT ONLY GETS OFFERED IF NO EXISTING ANTIVIRUS SOFTWARE IS DETECTED ON THE SYSTEM! (yes, if this was real life, I would have yelled that at you because you clearly didn't understand a damn thing).

As for Internet Explorer, what the FLUCK is wrong with Microsoft bundling their software in with their operating system? Why don't we start bitching at various Linux distros and force them to include a variety of easily accessable choices for users to install their own browser of choice instead of including FireFox or Konkorer or one of the other pre-bundled browsers?



This is up in the Air and im betting MS will definitely have to make a change. i 100% agree with Making Anti Virus more avaliable but this is not the way to do this. Security Essentials was not developed along side of windows and was entered after an AV market was already created and to me that clearly says this is a standalone piece of software and not a "Windows Update". The behavior is very anti competitive.

Microsoft should do something similar to what they have to do in the EU(?) with their Browser and prompt with options to install the competitions free AV software or Paid copies. This way the same update gets pushed with a more competitive standpoint.

Truthfully this should have been an option a while ago, reformatted PC's, clean installs etc don't provide users with the proper tools to protect their system, they are left to either have a CD or connect to the internet to search for reliable software (While they arn't protected...) or better yet the user has no clue what to do and doesn't even bother downloading one. I know a lot of mnaufactureres bundle software and give you something like 1 year free service but as a solution its useless, i can personally tell you that within the last 6 months i have had easily 10 friends ask me "whats a good free anti virus software, mines expired", an almost all of them just installed the free software over the paid software... 



"The behavior is very anti competitive."

Duh, that's what business is, it's life, and the governemnt is stupid for trying to mess that up.

What do you call it when your local Walmart or Home Depot has a sale on items? Do you call that  "very anti competitive" as well? For crying out load, business are in business to make money, and you get your product into as many people's hands as possiable, so people use your product instead of someone elses.



Um i think your missing the point, a sale is not persistent and that makes it competitive. You need to strategize around when other companies are having sales etc. Not only flyers for a store having a sale are sent out, flyers for all stores are still sent out saying "here are the multiple stores and her are the multiple products" make your choice.

A comparable situation would be going shopping at Walmart but only Walmarts branded products (Whatever their generic brand is) are promoted and sold on shelfs. No promotion or exposure to competitive products. If you think in terms of the average computer user, they have no idea what the best AV software is, they see the generic flavor.

Think about the Money MS would save as they wouldn't need to spend nearly the same amount on promoting its poduct as "competition" because its streamlined straight to milllions of PC users - How can the competition compete with this method? They cant and would be left to spend millions on radio, tv, billboard and internet ad compaigns which is not nearly effective as the advantage MS is giving its self.

I agree its competetive in the sense that they are exploiting an opportunity but it creates a circumstance where its not possible for the competition to provide a service even close to what they are offering.

If AV was included as an integrated part of windows since its inception then this would be completely fair :)



Life, and business is not fair, that's what makes one company better than the next, because they are better. Just because BMW has a better product than GM, doean't mean it's un-fair. And just because I drive a 750iL BMW, doesn't mean it's unfair to you, because you drive a Chevy (or whatever), life isn't fair. BMW has a better product, and offer (lets just say) free BMW oil with their cars, doesn't mean GM gets to sue them for engaging in "unfair" tacticts. It's like suing Ford for not offering GM engins in their car, that's just stupid.

What your suggesting is communism, everyone drives miserable Kia's.



I agree with most of what you say, except for the part about Kia's...


They're actually great cars, and have improved drastically over what impressions you might still have of them. My girlfriend has the new Forte coupe and my aunt has a new Sportage. Coming from a family with a tradition of mostly Japanese cars (e.g., Accord, Odyssey, etc.), I find the quality and design of Kia's to be at the very least on par, if not superior, to Japanese couterparts.



I really don't buy into the "diversity" garbage. It's true that anti-virus programs may miss somethings that others may pick up, but having several different anti-virus solutions seems like a bit much.  I go by the simple (perhaps ignorant view) if it works, use it. As it was already stated, it's better to have some protection than none at all. I think this is a right step to help users realize that you can't just simply go around without anti-virus protection. It might even spur users to understand the threat of malware (this may be an overly optimistic view).

I personally think those companies are bawwing about the fact that users now will be given free virus protection through Windows Update and not having to perhaps shop around for commercial anti-virus protection.



How stupid do the antivirus people have to be to complain about Microsoft putting Microsoft products with Microsoft products?...



Isn't this the same argument Netscape had when MS started giving away IE?  How did that turn out again?



"Commercializing Windows Update to distribute other software applications raises significant questions about unfair competition,"

That's the deffinition of business, you make your product, better, less expensive, more avaliable, and so on so more people use it.

That's like saying Walmart runing a sale on chairs is unfair to Target who isn't planning on running a similar sale. Or Walmar putting signs in their store saying they have free products over here, is infair to Target because they are not allowed to put signs up in Walmart.

Life ain't fair, business ain't fair, that why the strong survive and weak fail.

But some liberal idiot judge, will hold MS responsiable for offering their free antivirus via Windows update to the masses, because that's right up there with drug dealing and selling illigal guns on the street.

This world is getting stupider by the day........




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