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.
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