Russia's competition regulator, the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS), has dropped a probe launched against Microsoft back in June over alleged violations to the country's laws. The agency had accused Redmond of having unfair pricing policies and restricting Windows XP sales to retailers and OEMs, even though there was continued demand for the older operating system, forcing customers to use Vista instead.

As noted in our previous coverage, Microsoft is obviously keen to move customers on to its newest operating systems not just to increase sales but also to reduce support costs. Despite this the company reportedly supplied evidence to the FAS that XP was in fact still available and that it had sold over a million Russian language copies of the operating system in fiscal 2008 (which ended on June 30, 2008).

As part of the agreement to drop the case, Microsoft said it will give Russian users the option of exchanging their copies of Vista Home Basic or Home Premium for Windows XP Home, free of charge. The exchange program will kick off in the next three weeks and will last until the end of 2009.