14 Aug 2023 12:46

Russia has alternatives to Microsoft software - minister

MOSCOW. Aug 11 (Interfax) - The Russian Ministry of Digital Transformation, Communication and Mass Media is checking reports that Microsoft may stop extending corporate client subscriptions to its products after September 30, Minister Maksut Shadayev said, adding that this scenario would not be unexpected,

"We are looking into this, the information was received yesterday. We are checking whether it's a confirmed fact. Yet, fundamentally, the problem has been obvious, and we did not expect this [extension of the licenses] to go on for long," Shadayev told reporters at the Digital Evolution forum on Friday.

"Everyone had 18 months to prepare, everyone realized that things would come to that, and many started shifting to Russian operating systems based on Linux," he said.

As to whether there are equal domestic alternatives to such software, Shadayev said, "Yes, Definitely."

Microsoft may stop extending subscriptions to its products and services in Russia because of payment problems, the U.S. company said in a letter to its corporate client published by the TelecomDaily information analysis agency last week.

The letter did not name the client but said that Microsoft could no longer accept payments by transfer to a local bank account for Microsoft services in Russia, and this client would not be able to extend its subscriptions after September 30.

The letter was sent from the support of Microsoft 365, a cloud service providing users with desktop, mobile and web applications, as well as Microsoft cloud services [about 30 services, mostly office software and communication systems], most of which are available by subscription.

In early March 2022, Microsoft suspended sales of its products and provision of new services in Russia and Belarus, while continuing support to the existent clients. Microsoft said back then it would continue to honor all current obligations to Russian clients.

In April 2023, Microsoft offered about 1,000 Russian clients, which did not fall under anti-Russian sanctions, to extend their software licenses, according to media reports.