Microsoft cleared in Russian antitrust case

Moscow, Russia – The Russian anti-monopoly watchdog, FAS, says it has found no violation of antitrust law in Microsoft’s cutbacks in shipments of Windows XP.

FAS’ investigation kicked off in June over suspicions that the company was in violation of Russian law in severely restricting deliveries of XP – both as a standalone product and pre-installed on new PCs –  and in its pricing in order to encourage users to move on to more recent technology in the shape of Vista. The company had effectively stopped selling XP to retailers and computer makers, forcing customers to use Vista instead.

The president of Microsoft Russia, Nikolai Pryanishnikov, told Reuters the company had supplied evidence to FAS that XP was in fact still available and that the company had sold over a million Russian language copies of the venerable OS in 2008.

“Microsoft is committed to full compliance with the laws in Russia. We are glad that FAS did not find any violation. We also showed the importance of replacing products by newer versions and this is a normal practice for all companies,” said Pryanishnikov.

He added that until the end of 2009, the company would also offer customers a free downgrade from Vista Home Basic and Vista Home Premium to Windows XP Home.

Later this week, FAS will begin a probe into a number of laptop makers that include pre-installed Microsoft products on their machines.