The Windows 10 feature update due in the spring of 2020 will come with another major change in addition to new functionality and under-the-hood improvements: the built-in antivirus will have a brand new name.
Windows Defender, which is now offered pre-installed on Windows 10, will be renamed to Microsoft Defender, a name that at first glance makes sense given the security product is expanding beyond the world of Windows.
Specifically, the latest Windows 10 20H1 introduces a series of changes that seem to suggest the renaming is something that Microsoft is already committed to.
Microsoft watcher Tero Alhonen revealed on Twitter that in Windows 10 build 18941, the group policies for Windows Defender Antivirus and Windows Defender Exploit Guard have been rebranded to Microsoft Defender Antivirus and Microsoft Defender Exploit Guard.
Most likely, this change will become official later this year in a future Insider build.
Capitalizing on the Microsoft brand
It’s not clear at this point if Windows Defender will be renamed to Microsoft Defender on Windows 8.1 as well. The Windows 10 20H1 update is projected to go live in the spring of 2020, a few months after Windows 7 reaches the end of support in January.
This means that Windows 8.1 will be the only version of Windows still receiving support besides Windows 10 when Windows Defender officially becomes Microsoft Defender.
As for the reasons the renaming happens, it’s all because Microsoft has released its antivirus on non-Windows platforms as well, including on macOS.
Using the Windows brand on a Mac product might not be the right way to go, especially in the long term, so by switching to the Microsoft brand, the software giant could achieve more consistency on all platforms. And, at the same time, it can prevent any problems that the Windows brand could create on rival operating systems where adoption could be easily impacted, especially among hardcore fanboys.