Microsoft Weekly: Defender for the win, trouble with Nextcloud and ARM exclusivity

As we near the end of the week, now is the time to catch up on any Microsoft news you may have missed in the past few days. Although it has been a relatively slow week due to the holidays in the United States, there is still important news you might want to check out. Let’s dive into our weekly digest for the week of November 21st – November 26th.

Microsoft Defender for victory

A Defender logo on the right and the title on the left

The German IT security research institute AV-TEST has published its ratings for the best antivirus software for Windows 10 Home users and rated them based on metrics such as performance, usability and protection. Microsoft Defender secured all 18 available points in order to join the ranks of other solutions such as Avira, AVAST, AVG, Bitdefender, ESET and received the “AV-TEST TOP PRODUCT” certification. You can see more details about the results here.

In related news, a number of antivirus solutions, including Microsoft Defender, have started marking UserBenchmark, a freeware benchmarking tool, as malware. It’s not exactly clear yet if this is a false positive or something else, but keep an eye out in case you are using it.

While we are on this topic, Microsoft is getting backlash from the security community for apparently lowering its bug bounty rewards, even for high criticality issues. In some cases, this has led security researchers to publicly expose zero days out of sheer frustration. This is definitely something that the Redmond-based tech giant should keep an eye out for, as public exposure without coordination with the software maker can cause problems for potentially millions of users.

Problems with Nextcloud in the EU

EU flag with Microsoft logo on the left

Microsoft appears to have gotten itself into some trouble with the European Union (EU). This is due to a coalition led by Nextcloud that has filed a complaint against the Redmond-based technology company for anti-competitive behavior. Other notable members of the coalition are Tutanota, OnlyOffice, Free Software Foundation Europe, The Document Foundation, and European Digital SME Alliance.

Together, these parties claim that Microsoft bundles its 365 services such as OneDrive and Teams natively in Windows and ships the operating system with the operating systems installed by default. According to the group, this pushes users towards Microsoft’s bundled software rather than third-party alternatives. The demands of the challenging party now include the unbundling of Microsoft’s software from Windows and the adoption of open standards that make it easier for users to change software. The subject is still evolving so keep an eye on our coverage.

In corresponding news, the state of Schleswig-Holstein has announced that it will convert 25,000 government computers with Windows to open source alternatives such as Linux by the end of 2026. This will be a multi-step process that will first include migrating from Microsoft to LibreOffice Office and then moving completely to Linux. One of the reasons for this massive change is the license costs. It’s important to note that the City of Munich tried the same a few years ago, but the experiment eventually failed and the government returned to Windows in 2015.

ARM exclusivity and Windows updates

Windows on ARM

If you’re wondering why Qualcomm is the only company that makes chipsets for Windows on ARM PCs, don’t be surprised. It appears that Microsoft has an exclusive agreement with Qualcomm for Windows on ARM, so we haven’t seen any hardware from other competing companies. However, this deal has been reported to be about to expire and MediaTek has already shown interest in developing processors for the Windows SKU.

In other news, it was a relatively quiet week in the Windows updates world too, largely due to the United States holidays mentioned above. Windows 10 has received an optional KB5007253 update that fixes a number of issues related to remote printers, a 32-bit Excel error, and more. Meanwhile, Windows 11 has also received an optional November update 22000.348. The most notable change to the front here is the inclusion of the new Fluent 2D emoji and a number of other behind-the-scenes updates, which you can check out here.

We also heard from the creator of the APK sideloading app, WSATools, who announced that their app has been removed from the Microsoft Store for Windows 11 because it doesn’t clearly state the requirements and also includes the name “WSA” which appears to be an official one Branding is the one Microsoft used for the Windows subsystem on Android. You can read more details on this topic here.

Developer channel

Screenshot of Windows 11 from the leaked build

In the spotlight

Windows 11 desktop with cursing and vomiting emojis

After talking about the top five features I love about Windows 11 the week before, this time I went in the opposite direction and discussed the five features I absolutely hate. However, it is important to note that both lists are based entirely on personal preference and user experience. So, if you don’t hate or love anything about Windows 11, that’s fine too!

A screenshot of SDSM in Microsoft Edge

I’ve also written a quick guide on how to enable Super Duper Secure Mode (SDSM) in Microsoft Edge, which gives you improved security at the cost of potentially and slightly degraded performance. If that sounds good to you, read it here.

Log out

Putin smiles with some officials behind him
Image via Mr. Tempter | Shutterstock

The most interesting piece of news this week has nothing to do with Microsoft, but it’s still worth mentioning in our weekly review. Russia has asked 13 foreign tech companies – most of them from the US – to open offices on its territory by the end of this year. Right now, these demands are being enforced against social media and technology companies with an average of more than half a million daily users, including Google, Twitter, Facebook, TikTok, Apple, Zoom, Spotify, Viber and others. The Kremlin has warned that non-compliance companies could face data collection, restrictions on money transfers and bans within Russia.

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