Software

Why Microsoft is getting the cold shoulder from Moscow

Following in the footsteps of various European cities, Moscow city council begins moves to ditch some Microsoft software - albeit for different reasons.

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Moscow city hall believes the move away from Exchange and Outlook will cut costs by 30 percent.

Image: Sergey Borisov/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Since the German city of Munich decided to ditch Microsoft Windows and Office, a growing number of European agencies have followed suit - from France's national police force to the Italian military.

The latest authority to turn its back on Microsoft is reportedly Moscow City Hall, which is transferring employee email from Microsoft Exchange Server and Outlook to the Russian-built MyOffice Mail.

About 6,000 Moscow state employees will be switched over, including teachers, doctors and civil servants. If the move is a success, the city will consider shifting 600,000 PCs and servers away from Microsoft, and may also replace Windows and Office, according to Bloomberg.

SEE: 10 projects ditching Microsoft for open source - plus one switching back

The migration will be carried out by Russian state-run carrier Rostelecom and will cut the council's costs by about 30 percent, according to the authority.

However, the switchover is not primarily about saving money. Moscow city council is reportedly dropping Microsoft Outlook and Exchange to minimise the risks associated with using a "foreign development platform".

The city's decision follows the introduction of a law earlier this year that prohibits government departments from buying software and services from foreign providers when there is a viable Russian alternative available.

The Russian presidential administration is also reportedly preparing proposals that network operators and data centers should be made up of 85 percent domestic equipment by 2020.

Following the transfer, only a single e-mail system within the Moscow government will continue to rely on Microsoft Exchange Server and Microsoft Outlook.

The authority's IT department has said the transfer should not negatively affect the quality of the service being provided.

Moscow communications minister Nikolai Nikiforov said that if the move is successful, he is hopeful that other government agencies might follow suit.

Moscow city council and Microsoft were contacted but were unavailable for comment at the time of publication.

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About Nick Heath

Nick Heath is chief reporter for TechRepublic. He writes about the technology that IT decision makers need to know about, and the latest happenings in the European tech scene.

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