To date, the different editions of Windows 8 that we have seen all came running Microsoft’s own Windows Defender antivirus software as default. However it looks like this won’t be the case when it’s finally released to the public.
According to Gary Davis, director of global consumer product marketing for McAfee, Microsoft will be giving third party vendors preference and letting them choose what antivirus they want to install to protect PCs.
Normally OEM’s prefer to include trial versions of antivirus software to get consumers up and running, then they try and get them to purchase the software.
Sources say that Microsoft have come under a lot of pressure from their OEM partners to do this. Of course this is quite a large source of revenue for them so I doubt that they would be too happy if Microsoft took this away from them.
Instead Windows 8 will only activate Windows Defender if it detects that no other antivirus software is installed on the computer. Even if Windows 8 detects that no more antivirus updates are being installed, it will offer Windows Defender as a possible solution to the problem.
When the PC stops receiving AV signature updates, probably because a trial antivirus has expired, Windows 8 begins a 15-day countdown. During those 15 days, the Action Center, will continue to warn the user that the AntiVirus software has expired and provide them with information on how to renew it. Then at the end of those 15 days, the user will be presented with the option to install Windows Defender to protect their PC.
Up until now, Windows 8 came with Windows Defender activated as default, but this is probably because Microsoft would rather that Windows 8 was protected by their own software than by third party companies who haven’t had a chance to optimise their software for the new operating system yet.
I think it’s quite important that Microsoft allow OEM’s to choose their own antivirus is Microsoft wants to maintain a good relationship with them.