The city of Moscow is ditching software produced by Microsoft on thousands of its PCs, replacing it with homegrown alternatives. The move comes amid growing pressure from the country's president, Vladimir Putin, to reduce reliance on foreign technology solutions, in favor of those developed by domestic providers.
Such changes have been in the planning for years. In 2014, Russian authorities were already drafting legislation aimed at 'encouraging' government agencies and state-run enterprises to give preference to local hardware and software vendors instead of international technology brands.
As Bloomberg reports, Moscow will now remove Microsoft's Outlook and Exchange Server from 6,000 computers, opting instead for an alternative email solution from state-run operator Rostelecom. According to Artem Yermolaev, Moscow's IT chief, the city is considering a further expansion of the program, deploying the new software on up to 600,000 PCs and servers.
Yermolaev added that the program may also extend to the eventual replacement of Windows and Office on all of the city's PCs.
President Putin's 'digital czar' German Klimenko has made no secret of his opposition to Windows, and his desire to see it replaced on all government systems with a domestically developed Linux-based OS. Klimenko also wants to raise taxes on foreign tech firms in order to help Russia's own companies, such as search giant Yandex.
Russia's Minister of Communications, Nikolai Nikiforov, said that from next year, government bodies - such as the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service, General Prosecutor's Office and Audit Chamber - will begin "tightening their grip" on those government departments and state-run companies that fail to reduce their usage of software from foreign companies.