Microsoft Begins Mass Disconnection of Russian Companies from Cloud Services

Microsoft Begins Phase-out of Cloud Services for Russian Companies

Microsoft Corporation has initiated the systematic removal of Russian companies from its cloud-based services and software. According to ‘TASS’, subscribers of the popular business intelligence and data visualization service, Power BI, were the first to experience the cutoffs.

According to the Russian IT integrator GK Softline, as of May 16, Microsoft has begun staggering subscription shutdowns, disconnecting 5–10 corporate clients in batches. Other services affected include Visio for diagramming and Project for project management.

This situation has been developing since March 2022, when Microsoft first warned about possible termination of services to Russian companies. However, there were no subsequent blockages even post the proclaimed date of March 20, and service access continued to be provided. Experts attributed this to Microsoft’s reluctance to lose the Russian market and its customer base. However, the corporation’s stance appears to have now evolved.

The restrictions are linked to the West’s sanctions policy against Russia. Key among them is the EU’s 12th sanctions package adopted on December 19, 2023, which directly impacts the supply of business software solutions to Russia. This includes solutions for business analytics, process management, finance, and project management.

Originally, Microsoft had plans to block a wide spectrum of corporate apps, including popular solutions like Dynamics 365, SharePoint, Azure DevOps, and others. This could have caused severe problems for many Russian companies utilizing these services for daily operations.

However, as it stands now, only analytical tools, such as Power BI, are affected by these blockages. Microsoft most likely chose a strategy of gradual service tapering to enable the Russian business sector to locate alternative solutions and migrate.

In contrast, consumer products like the Windows OS and Microsoft 365 office package have not been impacted by these restrictions yet. Some experts forecast that there may be eventual consumer blockages. Thus, the availability of Microsoft products for Russian users remains uncertain.

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