FAS PRESIDIUM: THE CASE AGAINST “MICROSOFT” IS ONE OF THE BEST
The case focused on the practices of “Microsoft Corporation” designed to give advantages to their antivirus application and encourage users to reject antivirus applications from third parties
“Kaspersky Laboratory” JSC complained to FAS about actions of “Microsoft Corporation”. In 2015 prior to launching Windows 10 the Corporation did not give “Kaspersky Laboratory” as well as other antivirus software vendors enough time to ensure compatibility of their antivirus software with the new operational system Windows 10. The time frame for RTM–version was cut off from two months to six days.
The case on violating the antimonopoly law was opened upon the complaint.
Investigating the case, FAS Commission found that the totality of actions by “Microsoft Corporation” that had sings of creating special conditions for Windows Defender software product and the exposed elements of unfair competition – such as putting video materials on the official web-site of the corporation and on Youtube where representatives of “Microsoft Corporation” urge users to reject third-party antivirus software to the benefit of Windows Defender, thus creating preferences to the Microsoft product.
It is essential that “Microsoft Corporation” used such practices only when end-users were physical persons. When the OS was offered to corporate users – professionals – such practices were not employed.
Having considered the above circumstances, on 13 June 2017 FAS issued two warnings to “Microsoft Corporation” to stop actions that have sings of breaching the antimonopoly law. The warnings were aimed at “opening” IT-systems. The company had to ensure the working procedure for interacting and testing its new versions of the operation system with third-party vendors of antivirus software, thus, giving market entry to its competitors - antivirus software vendors.
“Microsoft Corporation” reported on executing the warnings within the designated period.
As a result of executing the warnings “Microsoft Corporation” made changed to its “Antimalware Platform Requirements”, which regulated the interaction procedure between “Microsoft Corporation” and independent vendors of antivirus software.
“Microsoft Corporation” extended the period for submitting RTM-versions of Windows 10 OS for independent vendors of antivirus software, and improved interaction between the company and independent vendors of antivirus software.
Executing FAS warning, “Microsoft Corporation” removed video materials where company representatives advised not to use third-party antivirus software to the benefit of Windows Defender and stopped other actions that had signs of unfair competition.
Having investigated the materials of the case against “Microsoft Corporation”, FAS concluded that the warnings are executed. On 15 August 2017 “Kaspersky Laboratory” JSC and “Microsoft Corporation” also confirmed to the FAS Commission that the warning had been fully executed. The antimonopoly body terminated the proceedings against “Microsoft Corporation” on the same date.
Deputy Head of FAS Anatoly Golomolzin commented: “Competition conditions on the market are restored, the warning is executed, so fines will not be imposed”.
Head of FAS Department for Regulating Communications and Information Technologies, Elena Zaeva said regarding the case outcome: “Fulfilling FAS requirements created equal conditions for developers and antivirus products not only in Russia but in all territories where “Microsoft Corporation” is present, ensuring, therefore efficient competition on the global IT market”.