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    Russian Anti-Monopoly Body to Rule on Microsoft Competition Case on August 15

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    The Russian Federal Anti-Monopoly Service will make its final decision on the case against IT giant Microsoft, which is possibly taking advantage of its dominant position on the market, Elena Zaeva, the head of the agency's Department for Regulation of Telecommunications and Information Technology, told Sputnik on Monday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) The FAS launched a case against Microsoft in November after receiving a complaint from the Kaspersky Lab cybersecurity company. The FAS issued a warning to Microsoft in June about the unacceptability of setting up a discriminatory environment on the antivirus market.

    "Yes, [the final decision will be made on August 15.] The nine-month processing period will be almost over at that point, and we try not to run over the processing time line," Zaeva said, when asked about the date of the final verdict.

    According to the FAS official, the communication between the US company and the Russian anti-monopoly service was improving.

    "The company [Microsoft] is making efforts to fulfill all requirements of the FAS commission, they just need a little more time to clarify certain aspects. In our opinion, the company is moving in the right direction, the most important thing for us is to ensure the competition as soon as possible. The markets are changing fast, the situation in the digital economy, too, so the sooner the anti-monopoly service requirements are fulfilled, the better," Zaeva explained.

    In July, the FAS said it had been notified by Microsoft that the company was implementing the necessary changes.

    Kaspersky Lab announced in June that it had sent a complaint to the European Commission and to the German Federal Cartel Office (FCA), stating that Microsoft had been using its dominant position on the market to unfairly promote its own antivirus solutions.

    Russia's Federal Anti-Monopoly Service (FAS) will prepare a set of state regulations related to the digital economy, including some provisions on blockchain technology, by September, Elena Zaeva, the head of the Department for Regulation of Telecommunications and Information Technology, told Sputnik on Monday.

    "The service is currently working on a plan to improve state regulations, which will meet the challenges posed by the digital economy. The issue of the introduction of blockchain will certainly also be taken into consideration. If an item has a functionality similar to another existing item, it has to be defined that way in the law. That is, if we use blockchain as a financial tool, it should be defined in the law as a financial tool… We should finish all of this work by the end of August," Zaeva said.

    The FAS official did not rule out the potential use of a blockchain for state procurement in Russia.

    "It is a new tool, how can we forbid someone to abandon a horse-drawn vehicle for a car. This is a large systemic event. And out position is such that a new item should be gradually introduced into circulation without any infringements or restrictions, but only as long as it does not pose any threat to the integrity and security of Russia," Zaeva said.

    In October, FAS and Sberbank, Russia's largest bank, launched a pilot project called Digital Ecosystem. The goal of this project was to study the exchange of documents based on blockchain technology, which could make the exchange process faster and more reliable.

    Blockchain technology is a distributed database, all replicas of which are regularly updated to add the information about all new transactions. Every time a transaction occurs, it is encrypted in a block, which is then sent out to all network users. Each block has a time-stamp and a reference to the previous block, which allows to establish the sequence of transactions. The data is therefore transparent and very difficult to change, which makes it a helpful security solution for any distribution or transaction processes. Cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, have been one of the most well-known applications of the technology.

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