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Putin Pushing to Block Microsoft Products in Russia

Putin Pushing to Block Microsoft Products in Russia

(AP Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 02 November 2016 07:19 AM

Russian President Vladimir Putin is now taking aim at Microsoft in hopes of eliminating the United States-based company's software from state-controlled companies and government offices, according to a senior U.S. intelligence official.

The Kremlin wants to remove all foreign software and replace Microsoft products with Russian-created ones, while it braces against retaliation from the United States after months of hackers' attacks that Washington says Putin authorized to influence the current election, reports NBC News.

Russia also hopes to block the business networking site LinkedIn, which Microsoft is purchasing. According to the intelligence official, Putin is moving against Microsoft because it is easy for him to convince Russians the company is involved with the U.S. intelligence community, a claim Microsoft denies.

"We don't spy on anyone," Dominic Carr, Microsoft's general manager for public affairs, told NBC News. "We don't work with any government to spy on others, and we never would. We make sure governments can review our software to confirm for themselves that our products are secure, and we've worked hard to increase privacy protections for customers including by suing the US government four times."

However, it's obvious the Kremlin and Putin are "stepping up their game," Fiona Hill, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution told NBC News. "It is a signal that the Russians really mean business now about nationalizing the internet and making sure they can create their own secure content."

Russian hackers, though, have used Microsoft products while waging cyber attacks. According to a U.S. Homeland Security document obtained by NBC News, Russian hackers used Microsoft Office attachment when shutting down Ukraine's electrical grid last year.

Further, intelligence officials say banning Microsoft would likely be limited because the company's products are integrated into Russia's IT infrastructure itself.

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said he is not surprised Russia is targeting Microsoft, as the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said he's not surprised Russia is singling out Microsoft.

"Putin as an old KGB officer views the world as a zero-sum game between Russia and the U.S.," Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee said. "Whatever is good for the U.S. is bad for Russia and vice versa."

Also, the move allows the Kremlin to tell its population not to trust American technology, and to once again feed into Russian hostility and paranoia towards America and its products," Schiff told NBC News.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin is now taking aim at Microsoft in hopes of eliminating the United States-based company's software from state-controlled companies and government offices, according to a senior U.S. intelligence official.
Putin, Russia, Block, Microsoft, Products
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2016-19-02
Wednesday, 02 November 2016 07:19 AM
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