Microsoft Cleared Of Russian Antitrust Charge - InformationWeek

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Software // Operating Systems

Microsoft Cleared Of Russian Antitrust Charge

Software maker did not illegally withhold supplies of Windows XP, regulator finds.

Russia's antitrust authority said Monday that it cleared Microsoft of charges it deliberately held back the supply of Windows XP in the country in order to promote sales of Vista.

FAS, in a statement on its Web site, said it did not find sufficient evidence to proceed with the complaint.

FAS originally charged Microsoft with violating Russia's monopoly laws in June. "FAS Russia suspects that Microsoft Corporation violated the antimonopoly legislation by economically or technologically unjust termination of production and supplies of Microsoft Windows XP," FAS said in a statement at the time.

FAS also had accused Microsoft of "reducing supplies of pre-installed OS for sale in new computers, as well as fixing different prices for Windows XP OS." FAS said the matter isn't completely closed. The agency later this week plans to eye laptop manufacturers who distribute pre-installed Microsoft software on their machines.

In a statement to the Reuters news agency, Microsoft officials said that the company "is committed to full compliance with the laws of Russia" and added that they were "glad" the FAS did not find any violations.

Microsoft further said that it plans to offer Russian consumers the chance to upgrade from Windows XP to Windows Vista free of charge.

Microsoft has battled antitrust charges around the world. The company in 2001 reached a landmark settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice under which it agreed to alter its business practices in order to promote interoperability with third-party applications.

The software maker has also had several run-ins with European trustbusters. EU authorities, who have levied more than $1 billion in fines against Microsoft, are currently investigating allegations that Microsoft's bundling of Internet Explorer with the Windows operating system decreases competition in the browser market.

Microsoft shares were off less than one percent, to $24.47, in morning trading Tuesday.

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