Moscow replacing Microsoft Exchange and Outlook with local products; Windows and Office may be nextBy Rob Thubron 11 comments
Russia's capital city of Moscow is getting rid of Microsoft's products, replacing them with domestic software. The move comes after President Vladimir Putin called for Russian authorities and companies to be less reliant on foreign technology.
The first casualties will be Microsoft's Exchange Server and Outlook on 6000 Moscow computers. An email system installed by state-run carrier Rostelecom PJSC will replace the Redmond firm's programs.
Bloomberg reports that authorities are looking to expand the homegrown system, developed by Russia's New Cloud Technologies, to as many as 600,000 computers in the future. Artem Yermolaev, head of information technology for Moscow, said that Microsoft Windows and Office could be the next products that get replaced.
The migration to the new email servers is expected to take two years. The city has budgeted around $700,000 for the project, with the new licenses reportedly around 30 percent cheaper than Microsoft's. Communications minister Nikolay Nikiforov said: "We want the money of taxpayers and state-run firms to be primarily spent on local software".
The decision to abandon Microsoft comes at a time of high tensions between Russia and United States. The EU and US sanctions that followed the annexation of Crimea saw many American companies shutter or cut back their business dealings in the country.
Putin's internet czar, German Klimenko, wants heavy taxes on U.S. technology companies, including 18 percent on app store purchases, to help Russian competitors in the country's $3 billion software market.
Russia has been looking to tighten its grip over the nation's tech industry recently. Back in June, it was reported that the country was looking to make backdoors mandatory in all encrypted messaging apps, part of an "anti-terror" bill that Edward Snowden called a "Big Brother law."