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Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service is at law with Microsoft

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 ОЕМ-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 procurement.



"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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