Moscow has announced that it is to begin moving the email software on thousands of the city’s computers away from Microsoft towards home grown options.
The city is to start by removing Microsoft Exchange server and Microsoft Outlook on 6,000 computers. According to a report by Bloomberg.com, email systems in all local Moscow government run departments, will be replaced by email software developed by the state run Rostelcom PJSC.
Russian president Vladimir Putin has previously called for both national and local governments across the former USSR to rely less on foreign software and hardware. Putin has highlighted the move as a protective step necessary due to concerns over security and reliability. Russian government officials were quick to frame the switch in nationalistic terms, with communications minister Nikolay Nikiforov telling reporters:
“We want the money of taxpayers and state-run firms to be primarily spent on local software.”
Nikiforov highlighted the fact that Russia currently spends almost $300 million on foreign software every year; money that could be spent on software from a list of 2,000 domestically sourced companies instead. The Russian government will also “tightening their grip” on state institutions that haven’t begun to make the transformation to domestic alternatives by 2017.
Microsoft’s email software is not the first foreign casualty of Russia’s new domestic software preference policy. Cisco Systems Inc. recently had its CCTV surveillance system for Moscow replaced by locally sourced software. The Moscow regional Government also from an Oracle database system to an Open Source Russian developed system as well.
In order to incentivise the move for domestic software solutions even further, some Russian officials want to raise taxes on US technology companies while offering tax breaks to domestically grown businesses instead.
Moscow was also said to be considering replacing both Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office on nearly 600,000 devices with software developed from Russian firm ‘New Cloud Technologies.’