The Channel

Microsoft is Putin a stop to Russian-sanctions-busting IT resellers

Установка Linux, Дмитрий!

By Shaun Nichols in San Francisco


Microsoft is investigating how some of its products were sold to businesses and government offices within Russia and Crimea despite strict sanctions against such sales.

El Reg understands the American software giant has been probing these sanctions-dodging allegations for some time now, and that the products in question are mass-market items – think Windows and Office – rather than customized or niche packages.

It is also believed Russian government agencies duped resellers by providing fake documentation, thus tricking the suppliers into thinking they were handing over gear to non-Russian outfits.

A spokesperson for Microsoft confirmed to The Register on Wednesday that it is probing claims its resellers violated trade restrictions that ban the export of software from the US into Russia. These restrictions are part of a raft of sanctions brought against President Putin's nation by America for annexing Crimea back in 2014. No wonder Vlad wanted to cause merry mayhem in the US two years later.

"Microsoft has a strong commitment to complying with legal requirements and we have been looking into this matter in recent weeks," Redmond's spokesperson told us.

"We have robust trade compliance processes around the world to help ensure that our partners comply with all conditions including immediate halting of suspected improper sales by partners, and strong measures to try to prevent banned customers from accessing and using our products and services."

Earlier on Wednesday, it was reported that Russian and Crimean government agencies had purchased Microsoft products through third-party resellers in apparent violation of US trade sanctions that forbid the sale of code to those governments. The reported buyers include government-backed arms manufacturer Almaz-Antey and construction company Glavgosexpertiza.

That Microsoft's products have surfaced in Russia despite the crackdown is not a huge shock, given that Redmond has tens of thousands of resellers and service providers who flog its products.

Aside from legitimate sales, Microsoft also has an enormous problem with blaggers and chancers ripping off its products or selling dodgy copies of software with counterfeit software keys. A quick search on of legal filings brought by Redmond against third-party suppliers shows just how many pirates Microsoft has to deal with in the US alone. ®

Sign up to our NewsletterGet IT in your inbox daily


More from The Register

Microsoft Windows 10 October update giving HP users BSOD

Updated Auto-updates come with a sting

Windows 10 Spring Creators Update team explains the hold-up: You little BSOD!

Microsoft Windows Insider chief 'fesses up to potential blue-screen inducing glitch

Half of all Windows 10 users thought: BSOD it, let's get the latest build

April is the cruellest month – and the quickest rollout of an update in the OS's history

Well, debugger me. Microsoft's BSOD fixer is getting a makeover

Grey screen gets ribbonised

Talk about a curveball: Microsoft director of sports marketing fired, charged with fraud over 'fake' invoices

He tells investigators: 'I was hacked!'

'Oi! El Reg! Stop pretending Microsoft has a BSOD monopoly!'

Your wish, dear reader, is our command. Including an Acorn BSOD. Yup, that Acorn

Microsoft Master File Table bug exploited to BSOD Windows 7, 8.1

The 1990s called: they want their filepath hack back

Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter make it easier to download your info and upload to, er, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter etc...

GDPR put a gun to their heads

Spotted: Miscreants use pilfered NSA hacking tools to pwn boxes in nuke, aerospace worlds

High-value servers targeted by cyber-weapons dumped online by Shadow Brokers

Going shopping for a BSOD? We've found 'em in store at M&S

PLUS: A reader spots a Timex Sinclair 1000 in the wild