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Microsoft starts Windows production in Russia amid piracy fight

Microsoft Corp., the world's largest software maker, started producing its Windows and Microsoft Office programs in Russia to tap surging demand for licensed goods in the world's second-biggest copyright violator.

„Production started a few months ago in Yaroslavl” in the Volga region, Microsoft Corp. spokesman Pyotr Suzdalev said by phone in Moscow today. „The discs will be used by original equipment manufacturers and will meet the demand of the Russian market.” Microsoft said in September that sales in Russia surged 72% in the year to July as the rate of piracy declined and incomes rose, boosting demand for computers that run on licensed software.

Sales of the company's Windows XP system climbed 76% in the period to more than 2 million copies. US business software developers lost an estimated $1.43 billion in sales in Russia last year due to piracy, second only to the $1.95 billion lost in China, according to a study by the International Intellectual Property Alliance.

The rate of piracy in Russia last year fell to 83% from 87%, the study found. Microsoft's Russian computer discs are made by a German unit of Bertelsmann AG, Europe's biggest media company. The unit, Sonopress GmbH, is one of Europe's largest providers of delivery systems for digital content ranging from videos and music to games and graphics. (Bloomberg)