back to article Russia stings Microsoft with monopoly case

Russian regulators have started legal action against Microsoft for stopping retail and OEM sales of XP. The Federal Antimonopoly Service of the Russian Federation suspects Microsoft broke the law by ending distribution of XP, both boxed versions and those supplied to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). The Russians aren' …


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  1. Anton Ivanov

    Is it the first of April again?

    Someone... Buying... Windows... And paying for it... In Russia...

    Sorry, does not compute...

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't get it!

    Are they doing the same with car manufacturers?

    No Ford you must sell continue to sell last years Fiesta!

    Penguin, because Linux doesn't have this sort of problem.

  3. Lionel Baden

    WTF !

    i have to admit i am not a Fan of Vista, im slowly warming to Win7

    But demand that somebody continue to sell a product that is just over 8 years old !!!

    Thats retarded !

    Xp has had a good life.

    I will probably use it for the next 3 years still, but common people its time to start letting go !!

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Poor microsoft. They don't get it do they. People like XP/

  5. TimNevins

    Fantastic News

    Since the USA will never take action against its own companies it is refreshing that the rest of the world refuses to be lumped together as the 51st State

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    PUTIN uses XP so PUTIN wants XP PUTIN spits on your vistaids and vistaids sp3 win7

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    And will Micorsoft demand..

    ...that the Russian goverment be liable for every illegal copy of XP in Russia. Sorry that would bankrupt the country.

    This is just daft.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    @WTF @ I don't get it!

    The issue is not forcing MS to sell XP. The issue is, quite simply, that nobody wants Vista, yet MS insist that you buy it and downgrade if you want XP.

    From the Article "This contains elements of antimonopoly violations, in terms of economically, technologically and otherwise unjustified fixing of different prices (rates) for the same goods"

    What they're saying is that MS are fixing the price of XP by forcing you to pay the higher price of Vista, even though they know you actually don't want it.

  9. Steve

    Go back and read the article

    It clearly say this is about various OEM's getting preferential licensing rates.

    "FAS Russia said: "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.""

  10. Adam Salisbury
    Gates Horns

    @ Mr Chriz

    I'd expect to be able to buy last year's Fiesta if this year's weighed twice as much, cost twice as much and broke down once a week. Fair enough if Vista was a decent OS I wouldn't argue for continued sales of XP either...

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    But they do

    continue to sell XP; see Asus decision to sell XP on netbooks.

    'Asus decision' - that must be worth a snigger or two.

  12. Joe Montana

    Cars are different...

    It would cost Ford a lot of money to continue producing last years fiesta, the market for last years fiesta is likely to be very small unless it's extremely cheap and ford don't try to stop people from selling cars on so the small market for cheap previous year fiestas is satisfied by people selling used models.

    The amount people would be willing to pay for last years fiesta is less than the cost to produce one, thus its completely inviable for ford to continue producing them.

    By contrast, it costs MS virtually nothing to continue distributing XP, and each copy sold, even if sold at a massively reduced rate would be profitable. They sell the netbook version far more cheaply, and it's still profitable, it's the arbitrary restrictions they place on the netbook version which are stupid and anti competitive.

  13. Mountford D

    Bring back Bill Gates?

    Dare I say that???

    Oh dear. Looks like Microsoft under the leadership of Mr Ballmer is heading for the rocks and lurching from one bad decision to another in the meantime. Time to sack the man in charge?

  14. Anonymous Coward


    Couldn't resist it...."In Soviet Russia, XP stops Microsoft!"

  15. Anonymous Coward

    Wow... just wow!

    Seems a rather bizarre interpretation of anti-monopolistic laws to me, but what do I know.... I ain't no lawyer. I'd hazard a guess that the law makers in Russia know their laws better than the vast majority of El Reg readers too.

    However, Microsoft chose to sell to the Russian market, and by doing so, they have to accept and abide by the laws of that country.

    I do wonder, however, how they determine when there is still sufficient demand for XP to make Microsoft guilty of abusing their monopoly. There will always be people (let's call them modern-day Luddites) who prefer an older OS over a newer shinier version. I work with some crusty people who claim NT4 is still better than all its successors.

    Whilst there are still these people around, is Microsoft expected to continue making XP available? What about support - if mainstream support is formally terminated then are they still expected to ship an unsupported product?

    I can imagine a case whereby if Microsoft are forced to re-release XP, they'll do so but just increase the price of it so as to force people to take Vista or Win7 purely for economic reasons. Who'd want to pay double for an unsupported OS when they can have a newer model for less?

    Although, saying that, I'm reminded of the t-shirt slogan that says, "Linux, il y a moins bien mais c'est plus chèr'.

    Skull & crossbones, just cause I thought all software in Russia came via FOSI.

  16. Cameron Colley

    If this were cars:

    Ford would make you pay $50000 for this year's Fiesta then allow you to downgrade to last year's car (which went faster, handled better and was almost as safe but didn't have a plasma TV and full surround speakers) which would have cost you $15000.

  17. John Chadwick

    Not sure I get the analogy here

    Comparing Vista & XP with a Ford Fiesta is a bit of an insult to the Fiesta, which has always been reliable, if boring.

    But also, when you buy a car, you actually buy it, it is your property, with software you buy a licence to use the software. Not only that, once software is developed, there can be zero production costs, well as near zero as makes no difference. Ford however would have to run multiple production lines involving a lot of very expensive industrial kit, not a web site of CD production facility.

    Microsoft could if they wanted too, now sell Windows XP for $10 a pop, and still make a lot of money, in the same way you can buy old games and other software from racks in Maplin, PC World and Circuit City.

    By the way, you might remember that GM sold their Astra production line to Deawoo, now called Chevrolet in Europe, and better quality that the real Chevrolet as well, people bought them because they were cheap, had a good warranty and did exactly what people wanted a car to do.

    Which brings me neatly back to XP, which though old, does exactly what I want it too, I can see absolutely no benefit in buying Vista, nor for that matter Windows 7, the only thing missing for me is a domestic version of AD, which I really would like, and I'd like it across all the versions, then I might see a reason to upgrade.

    Eventually I will have to upgrade, but all the additional processing power seems to be required to run Windows, and not to do stuff I want to do. Microsoft is a de facto monopoly in the personal market, and becoming so, in the server market, as is Intel, with whom they form a virtuous revenue circle which forces us to buy new software and hardware every few years weather we want to or not, a lot like cars, but the difference is with cars I can but a Ford, PSA, GM, Toyota, BMW, Renault/Nissan, etc, etc. With computers I can have Microsoft or Apple on Intel (or its licensees AMD et al.)

    Good for Russia, if they force MS to sell XP for a lot lower price than Vista or Windows 7, oh and I'll bet you Vista users upgrade before XP users.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    One possible reason

    In Cyrillic (also in Greek) letters, XP looks like the initial letters of Christ, and is frequently seen as a monogram in the decoration of Orthodox churches. Do the Russkies like XP because it seems to have divine approval?

  19. Dave

    @Mr ChriZ

    I think a better example would be if Ford decided to stop selling the Fiesta, and sold the Maverick in its place. Sure, they are both cars, but not exactly equal, especially if Ford then re-called millions of Fiestas back from their dealers and crushed them.

    Anyway, good luck to the Russians on this one - I have always believed that a pre-condition to any supplier withdrawing support for software should be the free release of same software. That would then provide at least a small degree of balance.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @AC - Wow... just wow!

    You can still buy MS-DOS 6.2 (rebranded as MS-DOS for Embedded Systems or something). Do you think they really provide support for that? So why should they provide support for XP?

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Try Actually Licensing Your OS. *THEN* Complain

    I read once that something like 85% of the installed copies of Windows in Russia are pirated. So, where's their case? You can't call Microsoft monopolistic when no one in your country spends any money on the OS anyway.

  22. Tom Stone

    Business would abandon Vista completely.

    If XP became easily available with no price penalty, businesses would abandon Vista and the upcoming Windows 7 in a heartbeat. There is no incentive to waste piles of IT resources to convert to a product that has no intrinsic gain.

    If Microsoft (aka Ballmer) had any brains, he would realize the economic value and advantage to their bottom line. Little R&D, continued revenue cash cow, add-on product opportunities, etc. How could they lose? Just come out with a low cost Son of XP product that supports 64 bit and new hardware technology. After all, XP is still just Windows NT/2000 with newer drivers and some window dressing.

  23. Jesse Dorland

    Vista Sucks

    It's hard to believe that there are some people would support, or even defend bloated version of Windows Vista. Here I support Russian government, because Microsoft is trying to force public to used something no one want. This is the same problem we have with the auto industry. American Auto industry is going down because they do not create the cars people needs. Most of these cars are broken with five years.

    Normally, I used Linux, however, time to time I need to use Windows. And Vista is not an option, It came pre-install in my computer. It was slow, and was not able to load any of the software. I had downgrade to XP SP3, and I also installed Linux Kubuntu in it. Windows 7 is a Vista, and I doubt that anyone would like it.

  24. JC

    @ Try Actually Licensing Your OS

    There's this thing called math. Roughly 142 million people live in Russia. A few might not run windows, but several are likely to own more than one system running windows so let's call it one license for each of the 15%.

    That's 21.3 million.

    Nevermind that the number with legit licenses is bound to be far higher than 15% because a legit license comes with most OEM PCs, most people do not build their own. Granted, many of these people will want the current OS, or at least think they do until they have to deal with the mess that Vista is on a daily basis.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    I Just Love Watching MS Squirm

    Thanks Vlad P.

  26. JohnG

    "And will Micorsoft demand.."

    If Microsoft wants to continue trading in Russia, they will have to play by Russian rules (as BP and Shell have already discovered). If they get a fine, I doubt that the Russians will tolerate the dissent Microsoft has shown towards the EU.

  27. Anonymous Coward

    Oh God, not again...

    Every single thread that mentions MS and/or Vista always has folks banging on about how they'll never use Vista and how useless it is, and so on and on and on, and they remind me more and more of the tosspots who said much the same about Windows 95 back in the day, because they were perfectly happy with the execrable Windows 3.11...

    And what's with the folks who pop up to complain about how slow and bloated Vista? I'm running it here on a cheapo £300 HP box and it runs just as well as XP ever did, so what the hell clapped out crapboxes are they trying to run it on?? Couldn't they just lay out a few quid on expanding their RAM instead of whinging?

  28. Jeffrey Nonken

    @Oh God, not again...

    "And what's with the folks who pop up to complain about how slow and bloated Vista? I'm running it here on a cheapo £300 HP box and it runs just as well as XP ever did, so what the hell clapped out crapboxes are they trying to run it on?? Couldn't they just lay out a few quid on expanding their RAM instead of whinging?"

    I'm migrating to a different box at work. I decided to see if I could us Linux. Installed XP and Linux Mint in a dual-boot setup, then installed XP and Vista Enterprise under Virtualbox.

    Guess what the results are? XP runs pretty well, Vista is slow as hell. It's a Pentium 4 dual-core 2.8gHz or thereabouts; not the fastest machine in the world, but I should be able to run any OS with reasonable performance. I gave 512mb of RAM to XP and 1gb to Vista.

    Your question about spending money on upgrades is a bit disingenuous. You know, every time somebody asks "Why should I upgrade to Vista? It's slow and bloated and runs like a dog unless I spend more money to upgrade my hardware" some Microsoft apologist replies with answers like "Why don't you just spend a grand or two on a hardware upgrade instead of whining?" or "Why doesn't your company just spend a few million upgrading all their computers?" Yeah, my company has just dropped their 401k matching and laid off 8% of its staff (two people) because money is tight right now, I'll just ask my boss to pull a dozen brand new computers out of his ass.

    If XP works for me, WHY DO I NEED TO CHANGE? Oh, because Microsoft wants more of my money. Sorry, your argument is standing on quicksand. Vista doesn't give me a damned thing I need, XP works fine on the computers we have.

    I'm glad for you that it works for you. That doesn't mean that it's good for everybody. The point is that Microsoft is trying to force everybody they can to upgrade whether they want to or not, whether it's practical or not, whether they can afford it or not. It's not whether Vista is any good, it's about Microsoft abusing their monopoly position.

    Microsoft isn't seeing the growth they used to because they've saturated the market. They're seeing incremental sales now that the uptake is complete. So they're desperately trying to find other ways to get that back.

    - - -

    On a different subject, and this isn't directed to AC, since I mentioned Linux Mint: It works very nicely on that system, thank-you-very-much. This is the latest version, Linux Mint 7 Gloria, and I've got a bunch of extra eye candy turned on and it's still pretty snappy. Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu. If you like Ubuntu and want something easy to set up and use, or just don't like Ubuntu's color scheme :), at least take a look at Linux Mint. Or if you've ever thought about trying Linux, you could do worse.

    It's funny how the latest version of one operating system can still perform adequately on some comparatively ancient machines that the latest version of another OS won't even touch, and the fanbois of the latter just loudly claim that poor performance is the price of progress and why doesn't everybody just fork over more cash and throw away their old machines? Oh, nice, more electronic waste.

  29. A B

    This is really valid

    XP is less resource hungry and Micro$oft is harming everyone who buys 2nd hand low spec hardware. Mostly Russians.

    There is a plentiful supply of software that actually 'doesn't' require a state of the art OS to run.

  30. A G B

    When Are We Moving On ?

    Products Not Commercially Available Anymore, Should Be Completely Free.

    Problem Solved.

  31. Rex Alfie Lee

    XP Versus Vista

    For those of you saying it's time to get over XP & move on... to what? Vista? Vista is garbage. Why would anyone want Vista when all it does is interfere with everything & then just stops suddenly for no reason? What's more is that it is the Blue Screen of Death without the Blue Screen & so you just don't realise the bloody thing has carqued itself again. Vista is crap.

    For those of us that have moved on already, some to Apple (poor fools, too pricey & not that good), the others to Linux, I still don't mind XP but I'll never move on in Windows. They've lost me permanently & with both Ubuntu & OpenSuSE offering better quality Operating Systems than M$ has ever offered why should anyone need to stick to this garbage. I haven't tried Fedora yet but I'd bet that ones also better than Vista-crap.

    Load the operating system, load this program, load that program, load another. Bugger me dead that's a pain.

    Linux, install the OS, select the programs you want & whizz-bang in they go. No extra disks, no check numbers to make sure you haven't got a copied file (they're all copied), downloads & installs patches automatically from the mother-site for both the OS & programs. What's more, nary a dollar for all of it?

    Vista users, Windows losers!

  32. Geoff Mackenzie

    XP is not over 8 years old

    It's just been 8 years since they rebranded Win2k and did some advertising. In reality, XPSP3 is probably more substantially different from XP before all service packs than it is from Vista*. The name change and new skin thing is pure sleight of hand.

    New releases from MS are more about cash than technology.

    * I know, I know, citation needed. :-)

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Focus Needed

    We are talking about Russia here. If they say you are guilty then you are guilty. They might decide at some point to allow you to present evidence of your innocence if you have offered something of sufficient value on the side. The question is what is it that they want from MicroSoft? Is some one not getting a big enough taste of the revenue? Perhaps some free laptops as well?

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