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


Starting November 1st, Microsoft began making its free Security Essentials antivirus software available to Windows users through its Microsoft Update service, a move which has sparked outrage among at least two AV vendors.

"This will end up in action taken, especially in Europe," Panda Chief Executive Juan Santana told CNet in an interview. Santana went on to say that Panda "will monitor the situation," and Panda isn't the only one. Trend Micro isn't happy about the move either.

"Commercializing Windows Update to distribute other software applications raises significant questions about unfair competition," Carol Carpenter, general manager of the consumer and small business group at Trend Micro, told Computerworld last week. "Windows Update is a de facto extension of Windows, so to begin delivering software tied to updates has us concerned. "Windows Update is not a choice for users, and we believe it should not be used this way."

In a blog post on Monday titled "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.

"Microsoft recently started installing its Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) free antivirus product via the Operating System update mechanism to computers which don’t already have an antivirus installed. Basically Microsoft is saying they are worried about the security of its users and they need to make sure they are protected...  We agree with Microsoft; it’s better to have some protection than not having any at all. However the way the guys in Redmond are executing the idea is risky from a security perspective and could very well make the malware situation much worse for Internet users. That’s why we encourage Microsoft to continue using Windows/Microsoft Update but instead to push all free antivirus products available on the market, not just MSE."

You can read the entire blog post here , then hit the jump and tell us whether you agree with Panda and Trend Micro, or if competing AV vendors should 'leave Microsoft alone!'"

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