Europe hasn't been kind to tech companies over the last few years, with nearly every major company getting slapped with antitrust suits. Microsoft, who is no stranger to this, just got hit with yet another antitrust.
Kaspersky Lab, a Russian cybersecurity firm, has filed an antitrust suit against Microsoft with the European Commission and German Federal Cartel Office. Eugene Kaspersky, one of the founders of the firm, claims that Microsoft has abused its position in the market to push users toward its own Windows Defender at the cost of third-party software.
"We want Microsoft to stop misleading and misinforming our — and not only our — users," Kaspersky said in a blog post about the suit.
"We want to see all security solutions being able to work on the Windows platform on a level playing field. And we want to see users being able to decide for themselves what they want and consider important to them."
This isn't the first time that Kaspersky has gone after Microsoft over security software. This whole situation started last year, when Kaspersky Lab filed complaints with Russia's Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS), with similar claims to the more recent complaints. The original complaints did result in Microsoft making some changes to Windows Defender, though it clearly wasn't enough for Kaspersky Lab.
Learning Hard Lessons?
As mentioned, this is just another antitrust complaint filed against a major tech company in the last several years. A perfect example is the antitrust case the European Commission has pursued against Alphabet since 2010. It is believed that the case may finally be settled in a few months, but that's not a guarantee. Another notable decision recently was the massive fine the EU hit Facebook with over the WhatsApp acquisition. Facebook had to pay $122 million as punishment for offering misleading information about the 2014 purchase.
Microsoft is no stranger to these complaints as well. Back in 2004, the EU filed antitrust complaints over similar claims to the Kaspersky case, though this was over Windows Media Player. This forced Microsoft to remove the video player from European versions of Windows to maintain fair competition in that space.
Given all these, it begs the question whether or not these companies learn its lesson. The EU, in nearly every case, has employed a watchdog attitude toward the tech market to ensure the big companies don't gobble up smaller companies and start-ups. Yet even after these rulings, a new case seems to emerge that highlights some of the questionable, self-centered tactics these companies go about maintaining a hold on the market.
It will be interesting to see if Microsoft, or any other company for that matter, begins to learn its lesson from these complaints.