* Agency says cutting Windows XP deliveries was violation
* Says demand for XP continues during switch to Vista
* Government continues to order Windows XP
(Adds quotes from anti-monopoly statement, background on
previous antitrust claims against Microsoft)
MOSCOW/AMSTERDAM, June 4 Russia's state
anti-monopoly service launched a probe of Microsoft Corp
(MSFT.O) over cutbacks in supplies of the Windows XP operating
system in Russia, it said on Thursday.
The agency said it thought Microsoft had violated
antimonopoly legislation by cutting delivery of Windows XP to
Russia both separately and pre-installed on personal computers,
as well as in its pricing policy on the product.
"Analysis of the market for various operating systems shows
that the transfer to the new Windows Vista operating system is
occurring while demand for the previous operating system,
Windows XP, continues," the service said.
"Demand for separately packaged and pre-installed verions of
Windows XP is also confirmed by retailers and the number of
orders from the government."
It said it would consider the case on July 24, 2009.
Microsoft's Moscow office said it had not received an
official query from the anti-monopoly service.
"We (have) always answered antimonopoly service questions in
full and intend to continue this practice in future," Microsoft
spokeswoman Marina Levina said by telephone.
The anti-monopoly service is regularly in contact with
Russian companies but full-scale investigations are not common.
The suit bears no immediate resemblance to past antitrust
claims against Micorosoft, target of a U.S. antitrust lawsuit in
the United States a decade ago, and which was fined 500 million
euros ($708.4 million) by the European Commission in 2004 for
anti-competitive behaviour in media player and server software.
The commission later fined Microsoft an additional 900
million euros for non-compliance but the software maker is
appealing against that ruling.
(Reporting by Maria Kiselyova in Moscow and Reed Stevenson in
Amsterdam; writing by Melissa Akin; Editing by Hans Peters and