After the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Microsoft announced that it would stop all new sales of its products in Russia. I stopped selling Xbox consoles, Azure, Windows, and Microsoft 365, among others.
It also downsized its operations in Russia, shedding 400 employees. It said it would continue to fulfill its contractual obligations to Russian customers while new sales are suspended. As a result, Russian clients started reporting that they could no longer download Windows 11 or Windows 10.
According to Kommersant, one of the oldest Russian publishing houses, Microsoft sent letters to its customers to renew their licenses. This comes as a direct contradiction to his own words mentioned earlier. It said offices, companies and legal entities that are not subject to restrictions can renew their licences.
Microsoft took this self-contradictory move to prevent piracy in Russia because the sanctions made it impossible to obtain software and updates legally. A source told Kommersant (translated into English from Google):
Microsoft does not want to lose Russian users, so it does not close the Russian legal entity and is trying to find ways to continue to support and update the software.
Russia recently legalized piracy. Western technology and content such as games and movies. With the sanctions in place, Russia already has laws in place to legalize such actions “in an emergency situation related to state defense and ensuring security.” The law gives the government the power to seize assets without the patent holder’s consent. It only affects the intellectual properties of countries that have imposed sanctions on Russia.
Heavy restrictions have eliminated all legal means of obtaining a licensed copy in a country prone to piracy. According to Microsoft, it cost the company $125 million. Microsoft’s attempt to maintain market share and presence is at stake in Western countries’ reputation and public backlash.