Microsoft Plans Windows Defender Rebrand

Credit: Emilija Milijkovic / ShutterstockCredit: Emilija Milijkovic / Shutterstock

Here's an interesting example of Microsoft focusing more on cross-platform services: gHacks reported yesterday that Windows Defender and most of its associated services will be rebranded to Microsoft Defender when Windows 10 20H1 is released early next year.

This appears to be a minor change that won't affect the way Windows Defender actually works. There are some questions about the rebranding--such as whether or not it will expand to previous versions of Windows like Windows 7--, but for the most part, it seems pretty straightforward. (And considerably less baffling than Toshiba Memory's decision to change its name to Kioxia this October.)

The prevailing theory is that Microsoft wants to change Windows Defender's name, so it's no longer associated solely with Windows. GHacks noted that Windows Defender ATP (short for Advanced Threat Protection) expanded to Android, iOS, macOS, and Linux in 2017 before rebranding it as Microsoft Defender ATP. So this wouldn't be the first time Microsoft nixed Windows from a cross-platform service's name.

This would make sense with Microsoft's new strategy of making its services available on other platforms. We noted earlier this week that this approach seems to be paying off, with Microsoft Word for Android surpassing 1 billion downloads from the Google Play Store. Windows 10 has been installed on 850 million devices; that means Word for Android is more popular than Microsoft's latest operating system.

Focusing more on its own brand should make it easier for Microsoft to expand its services to other platforms. It's kinda hard to see anyone installing Windows Defender on their Mac or Linux system without hesitation. Microsoft Defender would probably be an easier sell, even if it almost sounds like the company's developing an app that leaps to its defense whenever someone bad-mouths it on social media.