After Microsoft left the country, Russian Windows fans are hard-pressed for alternative options.
After recent global events, Microsoft pulled support from Russia, meaning people could not purchase Windows operating system or any Microsoft-developed devices. And since then, Russian tech enthusiasts have turned to either using pirated copies of the operating system or abandoning ship entirely for Linux.
Russia’s Big Windows Problem
As reported by Business Insider, Russian users are resorting to different measures now that Microsoft has left. We previously covered how Microsoft stopped all product sales, and in it, we predicted that users would either begin pirating Windows or swap to Linux.
As it turns out, they did both. Users began by going on a piracy binge:
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.
Russia also saw a big spike in piracy within businesses and companies that use Windows. These are often built on software designed specifically for Windows, and swapping operating systems this late would take a lot of work and money. As reported by Bloomberg’s analyst, Elena Semenovskaya, the Russian industry is short on choice:
“Russian analogues in this area are much weaker and the need is high. But for now the approach is to rely on piracy and outdated copies, which is a dead-end and not sustainable.”
In some areas, Linux came to the rescue. Interest in the operating system also spiked, with Russian government agencies swapping to it. And people who create apps for Linux are seeing a new wave of interest.
A Potential Problem for Microsoft?
Now that Microsoft has cordoned off Russia from its products, the black market for Windows is beginning to grow. And this may have ramifications outside of Russia as the country’s methods begin to spread around the internet.
For one, the spike in piracy may make it easier for people around the world to download and use a cracked version of the software. And if a Windows-like Linux distro begins making waves online, it may encourage others outside of Russia to take the plunge.
When One Window Closes, Two More Open
With Microsoft leaving Russia, both Linux and piracy have seen a surge in interest. We’ll have to see if this goes even further and begins influencing the tech scene on a global level.
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