A Russian court has stopped the case against Alexander Ponosov, the rural school principal accused of pirating Microsoft software. The case gained international attention after former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev wrote a public letter to Bill Gates asking him to intervene. The court said there is evidence of legal violations, but that the financial damage was too insignificant for a criminal investigation. Microsoft does not plan to pursue a civil action.
Earlier, the prosecutor (not Microsoft, as some early accounts reported) had offered to drop the case if Mr. Ponosov would apologize to Microsoft for copyright infringement. Ponosov refused, insisting the allegations were untrue. Even though the case is now closed anyway, he intends to appeal the decision as a matter of principle.