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Russia threatens to nationalize Microsoft and other western companies

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Microsoft logo (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Russia threatened to seize assets or nationalize companies that have stopped operations in the country.
  • Microsoft, Apple, IBM, and McDonald's are among the companies that could be affected by Russia's seizure or nationalization plans.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin shared support for having "external management" over foreign companies in the country.
  • The White House press secretary issued a response, stating "any lawless decision by Russia to seize the assets of these companies will ultimately result in even more economic pain for Russia."

Russia may nationalize or seize the assets of a long list of companies that have stopped operations in the country. Microsoft, Apple, and IBM are among the tech giants that could be affected by the move. Russia has also threatened companies in other industries, including McDonald's, Coca-Cola, BP, Shell, and Goldman Sachs, according to a report by CNN.

Microsoft stopped new sales in Russia earlier this month and is one of many tech giants to do so. Apple and IBM have stopped operations in Russia as a result of the ongoing war in Ukraine. Non-tech companies, including McDonald's and IKEA, also halted operations in Russia.

A video posted by the Kremlin that was broadcast on state media outlines a potential response by the Russian government.

"We need to act decisively with those [companies] who are going to close their production," said Putin. "It is necessary, then ... to introduce external management and then transfer these enterprises to those who want to work."

The legislation that would put these plans into action has already been drafted, according to Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin.

"If foreign owners close the company unreasonably, then in such cases the government proposes to introduce external administration. Depending on the decision of the owner, it will determine the future fate of the enterprise," added the Prime Minister.

In total, 59 companies could be nationalized, according to the Russian newspaper Izvestiya. The Russian state news agency TASS later cited those reports.

The White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, issued a statement in response to reports of Russia's potential plans.

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On Thursday, March 10, 2022, Russia issued a ban on shipping certain goods out of the country that had previously been imported. The ban prevents the transfer of "technological, telecommunications, medical equipment, vehicles, agricultural machinery, electrical equipment" and "railway cars and locomotives, containers, turbines, metal and stone processing machines, monitors, projectors, consoles and panels," according to Russia's government website.

Sean Endicott
Sean Endicott

Sean Endicott is the news writer for Windows Central. If it runs Windows, is made by Microsoft, or has anything to do with either, he's on it. Sean's been with Windows Central since 2017 and is also our resident app expert. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com.

70 Comments
  • Microsoft and other companies got political. They openly proclaimed they were working in a war to support countries other than Russia. In a way, they entered the war against Russia on a technical and commercial front. And little of that was government mandated. I know I’m stating the obvious, but what do you expect Russia to do? Say that’s fine. Of course not, it’s going to have consequences. Anyone who doesn’t understand that has lost all sense of reality. This is a war. You spite me, you pay. Eye for an eye. All that stuff. For me this is frustrating. Companies should stay out of politics. Focus on products. Delivering. Doing a good job. Being good examples without too much preaching. Preaching is what makes people choose not to buy from a company. But here preaching is having more dire consequences. Russia should not have invaded Ukraine. Worst thing of the last year. They need to leave now. But these tech companies know that their public statements will have consequences. They have employees on the ground that their public statements were not helping. They have shareholders to think of. Future business to think about. This war will be short. The fallout will be long.
  • Do you really think these companies would be better off if they didn't suspend operations? Do you really think shareholders would be happy? In any case, all of that doesn't make the threat by Putin any less stupid. He is committing economic suicide. He is (or at least was) the most overrated world leader of the 21st century by a country mile. Now, only idiots (coughcoughDonaldTrumpcoughcough) think he is a "genius". He is a typical foolish 20th century dictator. All paranoia and arrogance and stupidity, not in any way better than Maduro or Assad. He belongs in the 20th century. Also, who actually thinks the war will be short? The United States was in Afghanistan for 20 years, and that place is mostly sand and rocks. Ukraine is a developed nation. This will hurt Russia for a century. Stupidest invasion ever.
  • Amazing how you make two comments and somehow make both of them about Trump.
  • Well, you voted for him twice. Can you explain why he's the only person on Planet Earth who thinks Putin is a genius?
  • I thought Putin was rather savvy till this blunder. Up until troops entered Ukraine he was throwing tantrums and getting what he wanted. If he had been content with marching into Donbass and just sat there, he would have gotten another wrist slap like 2014 and would he furthered his goals. But he got greedy and bit off more than he seems to be able to chew. Remember, just because you think someone is smart does not mean you like them. Early war Hitler's moves were brilliant, but that is in no way an endorsement of him or his regime.
  • It sure enough show how someone thinks. If you believe what Putin is doing is genius, then you are a verified sick individual.
  • I'm not sure you comprehend what I said. Moves can demonstrate an intelligence for furthering one's ends while not being good or moral. That is all that all that was said, and I don't think it merited a personal attack.
  • Many of the people here aren't capable of basic reading comprehension, Dradzk, but I applaud your efforts to get basic logic across!
  • ... Hilter took one of the most powerful nations in the world, threw it into an unwinnable war, wasted resources building ridiculous war machines he couldn't field logistically, murdered millions of innocent people, and his period of rule is now known as "Germany's great shame." He sucked as a military leader, was an aweful economist, and an idiot. The lesson to learn is that it doesn't take a genius to turn a nation to madness. It takes wounded pride
    , greed, and fear. Also Putin is making incredibly stupid moves, and you only need to look at the USSR Nationalized economy to realize how uncompetitive and incompetent a nationalized Microsoft would be.
  • Go cry. Trump is living run free in your head. Explain how this wasn't a genius move by Putin?
  • Maybe because he has single handedly erased decades of progress they had made. It will be decades before anyone trusts Russia. They are alone and are basically a gas station with wheat that no one will buy. He has also shown us how they are basically the keystone cops with respect to their military. He way over played his hand. Genius folks generally don’t do things like that .
  • Wow! Talk about Trump derangement syndrome.
  • It's amazing how easily mouth breathing Trump supporters are triggered.
  • Nobody got "triggered". Nobody even mentioned Trump until Andrew brought him up to somehow make his point more valid. I think the guy was an idiot, but it amazes me how it wasn't a Trump supporter who got triggered, but just the opposite - it was a non-supporter who not only brought his name up, but got you triggered.
  • Oh please dude. He called Putin a genius, yes. Putin did pull a genius political move. That doesn't mean Donald Trump agrees with him. Adolf Hitler was a genius, does that mean you agree with what he did? No. Adolf Hitler got all the German people to rally behind him because of what happened after World War 1. Also I suggest you listen to the entire thing of what Donald Trump had said. Not just fake news one line headlines. Fact is, Putin pulled a genius move and the entire world can't stop what he is doing. All they can do is economic sanctions and this has been going on since what, the late '80s?
  • ... Who in their right mind thinks Hitler was a genius?! ****** made incredibly stupid decisions for his entire reign. Honestly it's not surprising that the people who think Putin is making brilliant moves right now also think Hitler was a genius, but holy hell.
  • Hitler was a genius. He was just horrible at military tactics. Learn the difference.
  • And yet no nation is stopping Putin from going into Ukraine. That's why Putin is a genius, he knew nobody would actually stop him. America won't even send Jets to Ukraine because everybody is scared of a nuclear war. He did show that his military is a paper tiger. So in the end he screwed up. Still has nuks though, no one is invading Russia anytime soon.
  • Microsoft's valuation is more than half of the entire Russian economy. I don't think Microsoft is afraid of Russia.
  • It is not political it is about humanity. Russia's behavior is monstrous and the world is coming together in near-unanimous condemnation of it. Bring on more and more sanctions and isolation of Russia.
  • Will Russia allow same foreign businesses to continue operations in Ukraine? while bombing the crap out of them. Thes foreign companies can claim they stopped operations for fear for all of their employees.
  • Ah. Most are pulling out for pragmatic reasons, political is just an extra nudge/incentive.
  • Shut up, Putin apologist.
  • You cannot just "stay out of politics," it is literally impossible. You're in it whether you want to be in it or not.
  • Nothing Political about what is being done. It's Humanity we are talking about here. Putin is a Simpleton by single handedly destroying his country.
  • Businesses can’t help but get political when it comes to international trade considering politics have a lot to do how international trade is dealt with.
  • Seize their assets? Man, this is ridiculous.
  • He'll seize all those wiped servers and iPads that can't connect to the App Store anymore and precious Ikea inventory (mostly plywood and dowels and Allen wrenches) and those things that put just the right amount of ketchup on your Big Mac. What a brilliant move! No wonder Trump admires this guy so much. Hell, it's almost like he wrote The Art of The Deal! Genius! This is even more brilliant than that time Donald Trump killed an Iranian general unprovoked and the Iraqi government kicked the US out of Iraq. Best exit strategy ever.
  • What did any of this have to do with Trump?
  • He publicly declares Putin is a genius. Putin is not a genius. Putin is a fool. In fact what makes Putin foolish are the Trumpian things: pointless aggression, burning bridges, and delusions of grandeur, all self-defeating. I know this hurts your feelings because you voted for Trump twice, but brining up his terrible judgment on Putin's terrible judgment is relevant here.
  • He's living rent free in your mind. Congrats.
  • While he's living inside your mouth.
  • You are the one commenting on anyone who is criticizing your idol. What does that say about you?
  • Wow, very constructive comment you have there. You are the one with TDS.
  • Last I checked, the US is still operating in Iraq and Syria. In fact, Assad has still not gained control of Syrian oil fields. Further, last week, Iran fired missiles into Iraq targeting a US military facility. Trump did not target and kill a general per se. He targeted and killed the man who spent the last 30 years targeting and killing American soldiers through his leadership of the Quds force. For all those on the thread that want to bring Trump into the argument, that is all well and good. The world has been subjected to positive and negative comments about his political leadership since 2016. But we have also been subjected to the political leadership of Biden for over 40 years. Trump was the guy that stood up to Hillary and called her out for her even worse political career. The US looked at both and just a few thousand voters chose Trump over Hillary. The same happened between Trump and Biden. This is the way the US selects the President. Like it or not, the US is shifting its political choices. We chose to enact Trump tax policy and it has not changed. His choices over the direction of the administrative state can be overturned quickly by the next President, which Biden did on his first day as President. We are not going to invade Russia or send our troops to Ukraine. We will keep our taxes low, and try our best to keep the radical environmentalists and progressive left from destroying our liberty. Can we reduce the power of the Washington DC administrative state? I hope so. Otherwise, I do agree with your point about Russia seizing MSFT's assets. These servers don't work without continual maintenance (software upgrades/patches etc.) If you consider how Azure is a gobal network, how hard is it for MSFT to disconnect their datacenters from Russian datacenters? Sure, they may have to write off property values etc. Russia's has minimal ability to influence global corporations that operate in 100 plus countries that have revenues measured in 100's of billions a year. Further, McDonalds suspended operations in Russia. They are still paying their 60,000 employees. What do you think these employees are saying to themselves? We love Putin? What are Mcdonald's customers thinking? We love Putin? This war will go on for months. The cities in Ukraine will be turned into rubble. Many people will be killed. A sad situation. But this is what tyrants inflict on the world. Glad many corporations are unwilling to participate in the Russian aggression. The Russian people need to make sure they recognize what Putin has done. But that may not likely happen. The Tyranny in Russia is deep and strong.
  • That Iraqi general was a terrorist that was killing Americans. You liberals are a bunch of wackados. This has nothing to do with Trump and yet here you are still crying about him. Did you forget that this happened under Biden? First day in office bite and killed off 200,000 jobs, started begging Putin for oil, and even allowed Putin to have his pipeline. There's a reason Donald Trump didn't allow Putin to have his pipeline. Because of exactly what's going on now. However, keep crying.
  • Russia has blundered badly in their calculations of the fallout of this invasion. It does not appear they allowed for this heavy economic whiplash by not just governments but private companies as well. I get why Russia is doing this (asset seizure), as they are trying to stave off economic collapse, but they are just digging themselves further into a hole. Who will want to do business with them in the future?
  • I don't think the Russian market is a make or break for any major corporation.
    If Putin seizes assets or nationalizes businesses, all they have to do is to shut them out and disconnect them completely.
    Nationalizing Microsoft in Russia will have little benefit for Putin if he has no access to Microsoft products.
    War sucks. Bad decisions are being made.
  • Well this is even more compelling evidence that Putin is going to take Russia on its own non-globally connect course for "quite some time". Years. A few if invasion stops in 2022 nicely. Decades if he continues this path, so best bets should be predicting the future behaviors by past behaviors. He really will drive Russia into some horrific dystopia without tech giants. There is a very good reason Russia does not produce high demand consumer products and services. Process engineering, coordination and open cooperation has been bred out of their culture for centuries. So they'll have their "Caca-Cola" and Lada's, but no more enjoying the benefits of higher quality of life afforded by western companies innovation and implementation expertise. Shocking. I believe it will also re-align, "jerrymander" Russia itself demographically. Colleagues I have from Russia are leaving, the technically savvy and those interested in maintaining a standard of living will simply leave, increasing Putin's popularity with old, rural and un-educated populace. Note, these aren't voters even, that's nothing new, but taking away participation in the guilty pleasures of the world, well, they can at least get Chinese knock-offs, FWIW.
  • You make a good point. I heard on the radio (take it for what it is worth) from a story of a Ukrainian. Ukrainians have a higher birth rate, increasing life expectancy, growing income. Russia has a falling birth rate, falling life expectancy, stagnant/falling income. Ukrainian and Russians are intermingled socially. Families span the border. Russian members of these families are unwilling to believe their family members' homes in Ukraine have been bombed, even after seeing photos. Putin and the tyrants in Moscow cannot have the Russian people see the higher quality of life in Ukraine. Otherwise they lose their power. So they must invade and bring Ukraine down to the level of Russia.
  • This is a report from CNN, so who knows what to believe. If you want credibility Windows Central, dont quote from CNN.
  • Buddy, it's a long way from being a real autocratic state's mouthpiece, it's weird watching you yanks carry on like this. Get your heads out of your partisan arses, ESPECIALLY GOP members, you've been unhinged in the last few yrs, & frankly, downright scary/fascist-like. Signed; closest allied countries/friends.
  • "downright scary/fascist-like" Ummm.... That was Democratic supporters the last 4 years who are acting fascist. They're the ones that were burning down courthouses, taking over city blocks and everything else.
    CNN called it fiery but peaceful.
  • You should go look at the definition of fascism.
  • You mean 4 years of radical Democrats screaming down people who have opinions? Those people who tried the silent speech and was burning down everything? Classic Mussolini tactics
  • Lmfao you right-wing scum literally tried to overthrow our democracy!
  • Oh please......it was a few people who did something in a mostly peaceful protest. Even that braveheart looking moron was allowed into the capital. Like most everyone else. But yeah, let's ignore BLM and antifa violence, burning down courthouses and assaulting police for 4 years. We al saw what happened in Portland.
  • @Brett122 maybe you should stop watching Fox “News” and get some fresh air.
  • CNN does have a strong global news gathering network. They make tons of money overseas collecting and reporting news. Fox news not so much. The prime time talking heads of CNN under the direction of Zucker were a joke and the ratings prove this. The new president of CNN should easily change the tone and reporting of CNN primetime and will likely see ratings rise. The reason the US had been subjected to the Fox news/ CNN narrative battle is because Trump was not a typical consensus political leader of a party. He was a bull in a china shop without many political contacts in the country or around the world. He was a strong leader. That does not mean you liked his direction. But you knew which direction he was headed. CNN and others hated that direction and did their best to fight him (mostly by lying about stupid stuff--the Russian story was a hoax-we all know that). Most people are willing to follow those they are most familiar with. The reason the Russian people believe Putin is similar to why many in the US believed the stories about Trump and Russia. Unfortunately for the Russians, they do not have many institutional controls to limit the power of political leaders. So we get to deal with Putin and his tyranny. We can switch to many other options to get news. Like CNN or Fox, pick what you want. In Russia, you don't have that option.
  • Says guy who probably watches OAN.
  • At least OAN doesn't tell lies like CNN and MSNBC.
  • As bad as this sounds, but I honestly hope this is a wake up call for every other country that they need to stop relying so hard on American big techs, especially the likes of Microsoft, which almost have a monopoly position within the Enterprise sector with their various services such as Office suite and Windows. Government across the globe now should know peaceful globalization under human greed is nothing more than a pipe dream, and ought to throw money into developing alternative essential technologies in case things goes bad. Self sustainability is the key to survival the future.
  • how on earth you could take this view, when it's not even meant to be about that, appalling.
  • It's a classic deflection tactic with a kernel of truth that Microsoft has strong hold on the enterprise sector.
  • True but If Microsoft does not have a mobile device with a platform of their own to go with, then its not really a monopoly, after all, a mobile device is more accessible than a PC is and is more likely to be in someone's pocket than a PC is. by this point, Google and Apple are better monopolies than Microsoft's sad attempts with mobile platforms that they dont even own, whilst they could produce their own, its disappointing, truly, because Microsoft is a software company, not some random 3rd party Hardware manufacturer which no one has heard of.
  • Am I the only one who misses Microsoft phones? They ran the best. Microsoft seems to do everything half arsed. Look at the Zune. It was miles ahead of the Apple iPod. Yet they just gave up on it.
  • From the looks of it, not mentioning apple or google, is a fun way to define ones twisted viewpoint. "Peaceful globalization under human greed is nothing more than a pipe dream"? thats rich, maybe you should ask Putin whats he doing in UKRAINE !?, sod off m8.
  • Ok, so if Putin nationalizes Coca Cola what will be the product? CocaColski? And what about Microsoft? Will Putin be able to develop Windows 12? And Starbucks? McDonalds? Come on, we are waiting for the russian version of all these products. I think that thanks to Putin all what Russia will be able to manufacture is candles, steam engines and stones.
  • If Russian versions of macOS or Windows come, then I am switching to Linux.
  • I'm confused. How can they nationalise corporate companies? Won't they need consent of the said companies?
  • No the govt just takes over the properties and assets within their national border and runs stuff.
    How effective they would be at it or actually producing anything it is another story..
  • Simple. Then send a government lawyer to the county records office and file a new deed for the property transferring the land and improvements to the government. This is why the Founding Fathers made sure to include a taking clause in the constitution.
  • They'll just seize their assets left behind and create nationalized knockoffs, trying to rebuild management and supply from within Russia.
  • Sounds like a hollow threat. It's not like they will be able to run these businesses, especially long term. I suppose they could sell off some of the physical assets for some money, but I can't envision much more. It wreaks of desperation, or at least a "we have to say something" scenario.
  • Republicans would sell their mothers to Russia; its the Capitalistic thing to do.
  • Republicans are the only ones who stood up to Russia. Obama's the best example of his red lines and caving to Russia.
  • You are delusional.
  • Oh really? Obama let Russia take control in Syria. He also let the Russians walk into Ukraine. Republicans didn't want Putin to have his pipeline, Biden gave Putin his Pipeline and then started begging him for oil.
  • Uau its amazing how much stupidity I read in these comments by people that obviously have no idea about what led to this conflict or what is actually happening in it. But first things first: Russia is not going to Nacionalize any western companies
    https://www.rt.com/business/552077-russia-will-respect-private-ownership/ Unlike the west, who unlawfully stole billions in foreign assets from the Russia foreign reserves, Russia is respecting private property. Some people in the comment somehow think that Russia is the one that lost credibility when its obvious that its the other way around. No government will ever trust the west again to keep their foreign assents. This is a huge blow for the US dollar and the end of its domination. A new block is now forming that will present a viable option for SWIFT, and this is monumentous. The end of the Petrodolar is also in sight with Saudi Arabia now preparing to have oil transactions in Yuan. It's a shame that Globalization had to come to an end like this, but unfortunately the west's hostile posture towards Russia let to this.
  • Lmfao you actually cite RT!!!!