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Microsoft Receives Russian Antitrust Probe

Microsoft seems to be a likely target as of late, now facing a little probing action from Russia's state anti-monopoly service. The company is now falling under scrutiny because of alleged supply cutbacks of the Windows XP operating system in Russia. According to the agency, Microsoft has violated anti-monopoly legislation by halting delivery of XP, both as a separate product and as a pre-installed operating system. There are also questions in regards to its XP pricing policy. The agency plans to consider its case against Microsoft on July 24.

"Analysis of the market for various operating systems shows that the transfer to the new Windows Vista operating system is occurring while demand for the previous operating system, Windows XP, continues," the agency told Reuters. "Demand for separately packaged and pre-installed versions of Windows XP is also confirmed by retailers and the number of orders from the government."

The overall problem is that, according to the agency, cutting delivery of Windows XP is a violation, especially so because the operating system is still in high demand while the country slowly upgrades to Windows Vista. Of course, it doesn't help matters by cutting off the Windows XP supply while the Russian government is still placing orders. But does this constitute a full-fledged investigation? They're usually not common in Russia even though the agency is in contact with Russian companies on a regular basis.

When contacted over the allegations placed by the state anti-monopoly service, Microsoft's Moscow office said that it had not received an official query. "We (have) always answered antimonopoly service questions in full and intend to continue this practice in future," Microsoft spokeswoman Marina Levina said by telephone.

Microsoft has come under fire by European Commission, firstly for the inclusion of Media Player in the Windows operating system that eventually cost the company 500 million euros ($708.4 million). When Microsoft allegedly didn't comply with the ruling, the EU fined the company an additional 900 million Euros ($1.275 billion) for non-compliance, however Microsoft is currently appealing against the ruling. Just recently the EU came after the company again for integrating the Internet Explorer browser into the operating system as well, demanding that Microsoft remove the software from Windows or face another fine.

But in this particular instance, there was no mention of fines on behalf of the Russian state anti-monopoly service--at least, not yet. As with previous cases against Microsoft, more details will surface within the next few weeks.

  • Parrdacc
    Russia has a anti-monopoly service? Guess that makes sense. Everyone else seems to have one so they can basically use it has the cash cow. I mean how dare M$ do they not know this can cause problems with the Russian cracked and pirated software industry that I rel...I mean do not condone. What was M$ thinking?
  • dman3k
    Surprise surprise... next up for M$, China!

    So when will the Apple and their iPod/iPhone bundling with Safari and iTunes monopoly be sued?
  • Blessedman
    So I am curious how they can be probed by countries they do not call their home. If Russia doesn't like their practices then block their products from their shelves and create their own OS and quit crying.
  • Andraxxus
    From Russia
  • magicandy
    'Facing a little probing action'?

    Nice one :)
  • tenor77
    MS: "Did you just grab my ass?"
  • m3kt3k
    Just a money grab. This is getting just stupid. Whats next Kenyans taking americans to court because we flaunt our lifestyle of I dunno food.
  • hellwig
    IANARL, I know nothing of Russian law, but what law could possibly dictate that a company must sell a product because it's popular? The only thing I can think of is that Russia sees Microsoft abusing its dominance, and forcing the government itself to switch from XP to Vista, and, depending on any support agreements, this could be a violation of some contract. Dunno really, just speculation.

    (IANARL = I am not a russian lawyer)
  • squatchman
    They're worried about Vista phasing XP out when we're staring into the maw of windows 7 eh?

  • kittle
    ok mabye I missed something...
    but it sounds like russia is complaining because ms has Stopped selling XP.
    WTF? Who is to say where ms can and cannot sell their OS. Now as to HOW they sell and market it -- thats a different issue.