updated 03:55 pm EDT, Thu June 4, 2009
Russia Says MS Monopolist
The Russian government today accused Microsoft of monopolistic behavior in its treatment of Windows XP. Antitrust officials said they would launch an investigation in the belief that Microsoft was unfairly pulling the older operating system from stores before the market was ready. Although significant demand exists for XP in both public and private sectors, Microsoft has been insisting in some cases that these outlets use Windows Vista instead.
Windows XP's pricing is also considered a factor, though what this involves isn't clear. In the US, complaints have surfaced that Microsoft is abusing its position by charging extra for the Windows XP "downgrade" option, which preinstalls XP but gives a separate copy of Vista to install if or when the user is ready to upgrade.
Microsoft said it hadn't received a formal complaint, but the case is due to begin on July 24th.
Such cases are seen as rare in Russia and suggest the monopoly claims are substantial, putting added pressure on Microsoft to conform to local rules. In January, the European Union accused the American firm of abusing its web browser lead by denying other browsers an equal opportunity in the market. If successful, that case would require Microsoft give buyers a choice to download a non-IE browser the first time they use Windows.