MS Cleared of Wrong-doing by Russian Anti-Trust Body

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft has been cleared of wrong-doing by Russia's federal anti-monopoly service, FAS. It was announced yesterday that the investigation into the Redmond-based company had been closed, with the software giant found not guilty of any violations in the way it distributed and marketed Windows XP.

The FAS investigation began earlier this summer, with the Russian body announcing that it suspected Microsoft of several antitrust violations in relation to the supply and pricing of the Windows XP operating system (OS). FAS felt that Microsoft might have broken the law when it discontinued the delivery of the OS to Russia as a separate entity already installed on PCs. (Source:

Vista Shift Behind Probe

Much of the suspicion was tied to a belief that Microsoft had unduly pressured Russian businesses to make the upgrade to Windows Vista by discontinuing the resale of XP. Indeed, the software giant can't make money unless corporate entities, those bodies responsible for the bulk of its revenue, go ahead and make a significant software purchase/upgrade every decade or so.

However, Microsoft's Russian division, led by President Nikolai Pryanishnikov, was able to demonstrate that the company had not forced businesses to make the leap to Vista. So, how did they prove this? By showing that Windows XP, which has remained something of a darling in North America and beyond, was still very much available in Russia.

1.2 Million Copies of XP Sold Last Year

Microsoft Russia was able to show FAS that the firm had sold about 1.2 million copies of XP to Russians during the 2008 financial year. It maintained that any pressure to have companies move to Vista was both friendly and reasonable. "We also showed the importance of replacing products by newer versions and this is a normal practice for all companies," Pryanishnikov remarked. (Source:

Microsoft has not escaped Russia quite yet, however. The FAS will next investigate the pre-installation of Microsoft software on laptops sold in the country.

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