Competition and Markets Authority in the UK greenlight cybersecurity merger to fend off Microsoft

Kareem Anderson

Microsoft Defender Preview.PNG

A proposed $8.1 billion merger between California based NortonLifeLock security solutions provider and Avast Antivirus of the Czech Republic has been tentatively approved by the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

After gathering further information from the companies involved and other industry players, we are currently satisfied that this deal won’t worsen the options available to consumers. As such, we have provisionally concluded that the deal can go ahead.

The yearlong merger has been going through an anti-competitive investigation sparked by CMA noting that there were “few other significant rivals” at the time the two companies proposed the merger.

However, it would seem that over the past year, the CMA not only concluded its investigation with no outlying concerns but notes Microsoft as being in a “unique position in the market,” as it offers its own freely accessible antivirus solutions with Windows.

What is now known as Microsoft Defender started out as an optional downloadable piece of software called Windows Defender back in Windows Vista and Windows 7 days.

Windows Defender, at the time, often lacked the most up-to-date security solutions and led to the growth of 3rd party alternatives such as Norton, Kaspersky, Avast and McAfee to protect operating systems from malware.

Since the release of Windows 8 and later operating systems, Windows Defender evolved into Microsoft Defender and maintained a relatively high library of known malware infections which made the now bundled piece of software and easy and free solution for many Windows users over the years.

Microsoft has since expanded Microsoft Defender to encompass protections for cloud computing, mobile computing and servers.

The evolution of Microsoft Defender gave the CMA a worthy competitor to point towards as it gets set to receive feedback on its provisional approval of the merger by the end of the month before submitting a final report on or before September 8, 2022.