Microsoft suspends gross sales of services in Russia, condemns ‘illegal’ invasion of Ukraine

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Microsoft President Brad Smith. (GeekWire File Photo)

Microsoft says it will suspend all new sales of its products and services in Russia and stop “many aspects” of its business in Russia in line with government sanctions.

“Like the rest of the world, we are horrified, angered and saddened by the images and news coming from the war in Ukraine and condemn this unjustified, unprovoked and unlawful invasion by Russia,” wrote Microsoft President Brad Smith in a blog post Friday morning.

Other tech companies are taking similar action.

  • Apple this week halted product sales in Russia. Google on Thursday said it would stop selling online advertising in Russia; Twitter and Snap also announced similar advertising-related moves in the past week.
  • Airbnb on Thursday said it suspended operations in Russia and Belarus.
  • Expedia Group is blocking the ability to book travel into or out of Russia in a response to that country’s invasion of neighboring Ukraine.

In a note to investors Friday, Wedbush analyst Dan Ives said he expects more tech giants to “pull the plug on Russia by this weekend,” adding that “this is a move the Street would gladly applaud given the heartbreaking Ukraine invasion by Russia that is playing out in front of the world’s eyes.” He said the moves would be a “rounding error” on revenue impact.

Microsoft has an office in Moscow offering customer support in Russia and some neighboring countries (not including Ukraine), as noted by journalist Mary Jo Foley on ZDNet. It’s not clear what will happen to that office.

The Redmond company says it’s increasing its normal philanthropic matching program for employee donations to selected organizations supporting the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine. Microsoft normally matches donations one-for-one, and it’s boosting that to two-for-one in these instances for donations made between Feb. 22 and the end of March.

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Earlier this week, Microsoft said it detected cyberattacks on Ukraine’s digital infrastructure prior to the launch of the Russian military invasion last week. It also said Monday that its platforms are not displaying or distributing any content or apps from Russia’s state-sponsored RT and Sputnik news organizations, in line with a recent European Union decision.

“Since the war began, we have acted against Russian positioning, destructive or disruptive measures against more than 20 Ukrainian government, IT and financial sector organizations,” Smith wrote in his post Friday morning. “We have also acted against cyberattacks targeting several additional civilian sites. We have publicly raised our concerns that these attacks against civilians violate the Geneva Convention.”

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