Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service Is At Law With Microsoft


05.06.2009 13:55 GMT+04:00

/PanARMENIAN.Net/ On 4th June 2009, the Federal Antimonopoly Service
(FAS Russia) initiated a case against Microsoft for violating
Clauses 4 and 6 Par 1 Article 10 of the Federal Law "On Protection
of Competition".

FAS Russia suspects that Microsoft violated the antimonopoly law by
economically and technologically unjustified termination of production
and supplies of "Microsoft Windows" operational systems (OS) for
PC, box versions – distributives of "Windows XP" OS, to the Russian
Federation, and reducing supplies of the pre-set OS for new computers,
as well as fixing different prices for "Windows XP" operational system.

To prevent and suppress antimonopoly violations of the Russian
Federation in information technology, FAS Russia investigated the
situation on the software market, Federal Antimonopoly Service press
office reports.

Having analyzed the market of proprietary operational systems for PC
(bound software products when the rights holder reserves the monopoly
for their use, copying and modification, and the source code of
software products is protected by copyright), FAS Russia established
that Microsoft has dominant position on the market in question.

Being the only rights holder for the "box" and ÎÅÌ-version of "Windows
XP" OS, Microsoft confirmed in an official letter its decision to
stop retail sales of those products from 30th June 2008.

Analysis of availability of various OS shows that transition to a new
OS – Windows Vista occurs under continuing demand for the previous OS –
Windows XP.

Demand for the "box" and pre-set versions of Windows XP is also
confirmed by retail sellers and the number of orders in state

"There is no license version of XP in sale, but if expensive Windows
Vista – Ultimate or Business is purchased, then it is possible to use
"pass to previous version" service", Vladimir Kudryavtsev, head of
IT department of FAS told to "Kommersant".

Microsoft also informed that this version of OS was offered to the
users by providing downgrade rights; another letter of Microsoft
indirectly confirmed the conclusion about the existing demand
for Windows XP: "Downgrade rights will be provided to all buyers
purchasing PC with pre-set Windows Vista Business and Windows Vista
Ultimate operational systems".

According to the information given by "Microsoft Rus" Ltd., operation
systems of the same version have different prices (OS distributed
through PC manufacturers (OEM)). This contains elements of antimonopoly
violations, in terms of economically, technologically and otherwise
unjustified fixing of different prices (rates) for the same goods.

Head of Microsoft in Russia Nicolay Pryanishnikov "is surprised by
such developments". "We stop selling old products as soon as the new
versions appear. This is normal. Simultaneousely we continue providing
technical support to users of older versions", Pryanishnikov said. If
FAS regards this as violation of law, then Microsoft is ready to
considers their opinion, he said.

Lawyers think, this time Microsoft will not be able to escape a
fine, which can reach up to 2 per cent of the total proceeds of the
corporation in Russia. Players in the market estimate the amount of
fine as approximately USD 1 billion. The case against Microsoft will
be heard on 24th July 2009.

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