Russian antitrust unit targets Microsoft over XP availability

Russian antitrust unit targets Microsoft over XP availability

Summary: The antitrust police are after Microsoft again, but this time in Russia. Unlike other antitrust investigations involving Windows, the Russian case is focusing on Microsoft's phase-out of XP, rather than bundling of various components into the base operating system.

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The antitrust police are after Microsoft again, but this time in Russia. Unlike other antitrust investigations involving Windows, the Russian case is focusing on Microsoft's phase-out of XP, rather than bundling of various components into the base operating system.

The Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) announced on June 4 it had opened an investigation of Microsoft. The charges -- according to a version of a note on the government's Web site, which I translated into English using the handy Bing Translator: Cutting off sales of XP as of June 2008, despite the fact there remains continuing demand for XP.

While the FAS notes that Microsoft is continuing to provide XP via "downgrade rights," which are available for certain versions of Windows Vista, there seems to be some kind of problem with "setting different prices (tariffs) at the same item," according to the translated complaint.

The charges against Microsoft will "be considered" by the Russian antitrust body on July 24.

Microsoft's response, delivered by way of a corporate spokesperson:

“Microsoft has not yet received notice of any new investigation. However, we will cooperate with any inquiry and remain committed to full compliance with Russian law.”

I guess the Russian authorities haven't been tracking all the continued leases on life Microsoft has given XP, the operating system that just won't die....

Meanwhile, Microsoft also is facing antitrust charges in the EU over its browser-bundling policies with Windows, in a case brought by Opera Software. According to a recent Wall Street Journal report, the European Commission is considering requiring Microsoft to distribute browsers from its various competitors, possibly by delivering them as part of Windows, as one potential remedy in that case. (Opera suggested Microsoft be required to do level the playing field by distributing its competitors' products when it originally brought its antitrust complaint back in 2007.)

The EC is expected to issue its ruling in the Opera case in the coming weeks.

Topics: Windows, Enterprise Software, Microsoft, Security

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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50 comments
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  • The real reason Russia wants XP to remain

    My guess is that the Russians are attempting to keep the older, less secure operating systems around as they have spent a great deal of time and money learning to hack those systems. Heaven forbid if we were all forced to purchase the more secure Vista/Windows7, as XP is not availiable.

    But why stop at Microsoft?

    Apple would be next, as they have phased out various versions of their operating system over the years.

    And old versions of Linux, too.

    That would certainly hurt their country, no longer being able to see data on somebody else's computer network.



    GuidingLight
    • She needs to verify.

      Reading it, the problem seems to not be that XP is/is not totally phased out, it is the different cost paths to end up with, say XP professional on a machine using various downgrade paths.

      I agree, MS can do what they want with any OS they own, except apparently (?) charge differing prices (in effect) for the same product in the same marketplace.

      TripleII
      TripleII-21189418044173169409978279405827
      • Not really

        RE: Charging different prices for the same product.

        This happens all the time. Go to your local grocery store. Look at a) the ingredients on allergy medication, and b) the cost of said medications. The same ingredients from the same manufacturer and distributer can cost as much as two or three times as much depending on the packaging.

        The only thing going on here is that the Russians have lawsuit-envy (well, really it's exorbitant fine envy) with the EU.

        aureolin
      • I have a flying saucer for sale

        [i]My guess is that the Russians are attempting to keep the older, less secure operating systems around as they have spent a great deal of time and money learning to hack those systems. Heaven forbid if we were all forced to purchase the more secure Vista/Windows7, as XP is not availiable.[/i]

        If you really believe that nonsense...

        ;)
        Wintel BSOD
    • THats ignorant

      ie8 is the biggest piece of threat , and that
      stupid 1 sided firewall is duchy...

      Firefox is so more secure on any operating system.

      glad somebody is afraid of the Russians to admit
      it.
      not of this world
      • uggh?

        Did you actualy read the article what the hell has it got to do with ie8 or firewalls?

        Btw firefox is not more secure than ie8 as the smartscreen filter has actualy been shown to stop about double the bad links as firefox and it scans downloadable files like .exe's too which firefox does not, and thats before you get to internet protected mode on vista/7 machines too.
        jdbukis@...
    • Russia & Windows

      Windows is the most insecure operating system on the planet, I hardly think they are afraid of Windows 7.......

      That was funny.
      Christian_<><
    • Typical

      Apple and Microsoft have different business models. I know that some
      people have a really, really hard time wrapping their brain around that
      concept. Even some advertising executives at Microsoft.
      frgough
  • the Russians are after the $$$

    For once I agree with M$ phasing out a lame, defective and insecure product.
    The only reason somebody would want windoze arround is either to get a lump sum of cash from M$, or to get it in small incremets by installing trojans and emptying victims accounts.
    Linux Geek
  • Uh Oh. That's not good.

    nt
    no_zd_user_name
  • i have a question about the EU lawsuit

    I was just thinking about something, will MS have to pay royalties to other browser companies if opera gets their way and MS has to include other browsers? I know the pay a royaltie for their MPEG2 codec and their MP3 codec. I was just wondering.
    NoThomas
    • I would imagine they would not have to pay

      They pay licensing for the MPEG2 codec and their MP3 codec, as do other vendors thgat use them but I hardly believe that any government could force a company to use a competitors product, then ask the company to pay that competitor too.

      If Opera complains that free IE8 keeps people from purchasing their product, then offer a free version, or place the trial version on the system, let the people decide if they want free or not.

      Otherwise either Microsoft would have to pay for each installation whether it is used or not, or the cost would be passed onto us the consumers, whether we use Opera or not.
      GuidingLight
      • Thats kinda my point..

        "Otherwise either Microsoft would have to pay for each installation whether it is used or not, or the cost would be passed onto us the consumers, whether we use Opera or not." Whats to stop opera from requiring MS paying them a royalty after the EU tells them by law they have to include Opera on their installation disks?? I remember reading an article when this lawsuit was first made public (no I cant find it to link to it and I dont even remember where i read it at, and honestly there is about a 30% chance I might be remebering this wrong) but unless my memory is failing me the President of Opera said that he hopes opera wins the antitrust suit so that people will have to begin to pay for browsers.
        Could a royalty check be a part of what he means?

        Right now when you pay for Vista you are also paying for the MPEG2 codec which MS pays to whoever at each sale and the MP3 codec which MS pays to whoever at each sale and Roxio for the built in burning I am sure there is more then that but thats all I can think of. I assume we pay for it as a consumer no matter of we ever burn cd's using the built in burning or if we use windows media player to listen to MP3's or play DVD's.
        NoThomas
        • Charging for browsers ...

          The guy from Opera was probably saying that he hoped that free browsers will go away.

          The problem is trying to establish that consumers suffer because browsers are free. After all, if someone builds a bettter browser, they can choose to sell it if they want. And, consumers can buy it if they think the new browser is worth the cost. It isn't an impossible task. People buy Cadillacs, Mercedes, etc... everyday even though Chevrolets, Hondas and so forth are much less expensive and still provide all the functionality that one really needs to get from Point A to Point B. The fact that people don't think that Opera is worth the extra cost isn't Microsoft's fault.
          bkshort@...
  • Lost in translation.

    What the Russians really want is for everybody else to continue using XP. That way they don't have to work at creating new viruses. It's a long shot but I guess it is worth a try.
    kozmcrae
    • Antitrust/MS, and NO NoAxe? Huh?

      Usually any mention of Microsoft and antitrust actions result in some (or 30, as last week) posts.

      nizuse
      • Glad to know you do nothing but wait on my posts.

        That puts you in the top 5% of my fans.
        No_Ax_to_Grind
  • RE: Russian antitrust unit targets Microsoft over XP availability

    Taking tips from the EU, it's an attempt at getting money.
    dougbeer
  • BTW, "???!" means "Attack!" in Russian (dog command) :)

    Well as a person living in Russia I must say I was well aware about that a long time ago. However, I am surprised that FAS decided to sue Microsoft for XP only, not for their global OS monopoly. Linux is still unknown to the general public, Apple products are too expensive, they even cost more than in US. $600 for IPhone?? WTF?
    OK, here I picked up some quote from FAS because you people should not be satisfied with a machine translation :)

    [i]According to the information provided by "Microsoft Rus" Ltd., the operating systems of the same version have different prices (what is meant is OSes distributed through PC manufacturers (OEMs)). This fact contains features of a violation of the antitrust legislation in the part concerning fixing prices (tariffs) on the same good without an economical, technological or any other ground. The lawsuit against Microsoft will be heard on July 24, 2009.[/i]
    fcdenton666
    • They still selling XP in Russia??

      I am not seeing where they are getting the two price points from, OEM's is 1 but where is the other price coming from that is different from OEM's?
      NoThomas