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By | John Oates 5th June 2009 09:20

Russia stings Microsoft with monopoly case

It's all about XP

Russian regulators have started legal action against Microsoft for stopping retail and OEM sales of XP.

The Federal Antimonopoly Service of the Russian Federation suspects Microsoft broke the law by ending distribution of XP, both boxed versions and those supplied to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).

The Russians aren't hanging about either - the case will be heard 24 July.

The basis of case seems to be that there was still demand for XP even when Microsoft stopped selling it in favour of unloved Windows Vista.

Regulators appear to find further evidence of this in Microsoft's decision to provide some Vista buyers with the option to downgrade to XP.

FAS Russia said: "According to the information given by «Microsoft Rus» Ltd., operation systems of the same version have different prices (OS distributed through PC manufacturers (OEM)). This contains elements of antimonopoly violations, in terms of economically, technologically and otherwise unjustified fixing of different prices (rates) for the same goods."

The case seems very different to those brought by the European Commission and by US regulators which centred on bundling of products. ®

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