Russian president Vladimir Putin has called for local authorities to use local rather than foreign technology, and Microsoft looks set to suffer.
Moscow is to stop using Microsoft’s email platforms in order to use a locally-developed alternative. According to a Bloomberg report, Moscow is to replace Office 365 with a productivity suite called MyOffice, made by Russian company New Cloud Technologies.
New law encourages use of Russian software products
Microsoft Exchange Server and Outlook will be replaced on more than 6,000 computers. A new government IT procurement law came into effect in January, which requires public authorities and state-owned corporations to check if locally-made software is available before buying foreign products.
Artem Yermolaev, head of Moscow’s IT, said that the new email system could soon be in use on 600,000 computers. Moscow could then replace Windows and Office with local alternatives.
The migration away from Outlook and Exchange will be made by state-run telecoms carrier Rostelecom. The company has already switched some of its own systems from Oracle to PostgreSQL, an open-source database product.
Lack of options could make it difficult to follow anti-Microsoft order
One problem has been reported by Russian paper Vedomosti in March. According to the paper it may be difficult for Russian organizations to follow the order due to a lack of competitive database and operating system products. Bloomberg previously revealed that Russia spends $3 billion on software, 75% of which goes on imports.
Rostelecom started a major drive to move government services to PostgreSQL from Oracle this August. This should reduce the risk that Russian agencies are sanctioned for using foreign software and licensing, according to Vedomisti.
Putin has spoken of his desire for organizations to support local developers by buying domestic products, and also cited security concerns with using foreign software. Some see the policy as a consequence of heavy U.S. sanctions in the aftermath of the Russian occupation of the Crimea. It is a policy that is echoed in China, where the state restricts the use of Windows by government authorities.
“We want the money of taxpayers and state-run firms to be primarily spent on local software,” Bloomberg quoted Russian communications minister Nikolay Nikiforov as saying.
Nikiforov reportedly said that $300 million is currently spent on foreign software, and that there would be a clampdown on state organizations that continue to use foreign products.