Russians are searching for pirated Microsoft products and switching to Linux as the Western corporate exodus hits software updates and services: report

Russians are searching for pirated Microsoft software online after the US tech giant halted sales in the country over its invasion of Ukraine, the Kommersant newspaper reported on Monday.
Russia-based web searches for pirated Microsoft software have surged by as much as 250% after the company suspended new sales on March 4, according to Kommersant. In June so far, there’s been a 650% surge in searches for Excel downloads, the media outlet added.
Microsoft said earlier this month it’s significantly scaling down business in Russia, joining a long list of companies winding down businesses in the country amid sweeping sanctions over the war in Ukraine. The move hits Russia hard because the country relies on foreign software to power many of its manufacturing and engineering tech systems, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday.
Russian government agencies, too, are switching from Microsoft’s Windows to the Linux operating system, the Moscow Times reported last Friday. Developers of Russian systems based on the Linux open source operating system are also seeing more demand, Kommersant reported.
Not all sectors are able to swap out their systems easily.
In the case of industries, software is generally embedded into machinery and providers typically don’t give clients access to the code, Sergey Dunaev, the chief information officer of steel giant Severstal, told Bloomberg.
“All industries are facing the same problems,” Dunaev told the news outlet. “Many processes in modern units are controlled by software.”
“Russian analogues in this area are much weaker and the need is high,” Elena Semenovskaya, a Russia-focused analyst at IDC told Bloomberg. “But for now the approach is to rely on piracy and outdated copies, which is a dead-end and not sustainable.”

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