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Trend Micro raises a stink over Security Essentials via Windows Update

When I wrote about Microsoft's decision to begin offering Security Essentials via Windows Update to users who didn't already have an antivirus program installed, I wondered how long it would be until someone shouted "Unfair!" I wasn't the only one, either -- ZDnet's Ed Bott had similar concerns.

This morning, Computerworld is reporting that Trend Micro -- who develop a range of antivirus and security apps -- are a little miffed at Microsoft. According to a Trend spokesperson, "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."

That is, of course, not correct in the strictest sense. Yes, Windows Update is part of Windows itself -- but a user can choose to install only critical updates or disable them entirely. Security Essentials is offered under the 'recommended' header -- and even then, only to users who don't already have a similar security program installed.

Still, that may not be enough to satisfy a court. Microsoft's Jeff Smith seems confident in his company's position, stating ""By offering Security Essentials as an optional download for PCs that are unprotected, we make it easy for those who want and know they need protection, but for whatever reason have not gotten around to installing it." He adds that they're simply providing an additional way for users to download a useful program.

They're certainly not ramming it down anyone's throat -- you'll never even see the recommendation unless you click through on the Windows Update screen's miniscule text link. But what say you, readers? Will that be enough to vindicate Microsoft in court?

Tags: antitrust, lawsuit, mse, security essentials, SecurityEssentials, trend micro, TrendMicro