Microsoft to freeze license extensions for Russian companies

Microsoft will stop renewing licenses for its products to Russian companies starting in October following sanctions imposed against Russia due to the war in Ukraine.

The U.S. software giant said in a letter sent to Russian businesses on Thursday that it will no longer process payments via wire transfer to a local bank account for its services in Russia. Microsoft customers now have two months to find an alternative vendor.

“Please take the necessary steps to secure your data before the expiration date of your current subscription," said the company’s letter.

Microsoft suspended the sale of its products and services in Russia in March of last year and said it would "slowly reduce its presence in the country until it's gone completely."

Forbes Russia estimates that up to 90% of corporate clients in the country still use Microsoft products. Without Microsoft software updates, Russian services will become more susceptible to cyberattacks, experts warn. The lack of alternatives will also encourage businesses to use pirated tools.

The Russian government is actively working on creating domestic technologies to replace popular Western products, but these alternatives are still in development and not widely adopted.

Many popular Western services left Russia when the war began.

Cisco, a telecommunications equipment manufacturer, destroyed spare parts for its equipment in Russia worth $19 million after exiting the market. The company was the main supplier of equipment for Russian internet and mobile operators.

Google has reportedly just started blocking its corporate services, including Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Meet and Google Docs, for Russian companies under sanctions. Around 30% of all corporate information from Russian companies is stored on Google Workspace services.

To speed up the transition to home-grown software, the Russian internet regulator Roskomnadzor is blocking VPN services in Russia. About 20 well-known VPN services, including OpenVPN and WireGuard, have already been blocked.

The Russian government occasionally makes exceptions. For example, this week, it blocked VPN services for regular users, but businesses like banks and financial organizations could still use them, according to Russian media.

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Daryna Antoniuk

Daryna Antoniuk

is a reporter for Recorded Future News based in Ukraine. She writes about cybersecurity startups, cyberattacks in Eastern Europe and the state of the cyberwar between Ukraine and Russia. She previously was a tech reporter for Forbes Ukraine. Her work has also been published at Sifted, The Kyiv Independent and The Kyiv Post.