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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russians Feel Greater Sympathy For Gates

Feel sorry for Microsoft?

As Microsoft watchers around the world celebrated a Wednesday decision to smash the company in two as a victory over corporate megalomania, and media spilled gallons of ink to describe its "fatal arrogance," the reaction of some Russians was perhaps a surprising one: pity.

The vitriol traditionally directed at Bill Gates and the company he founded was absent on computer business online forum ZDNet.

"This is so sad. Couldn't someone say a kind word about poor Microsoft? Are you afraid you'll be pecked to death?" a woman with the handle "Irina" wrote.

While Irina may have been feeling ironic, Nikolai Krasivov, president of software developer Galaktika Corp., was earnest in his comments on Gates.

"What Gates did for humanity is much higher than the side effects," said Krasivov, whose company custom develops ERP software. "We have the elementary possibility to sit down at a computer and work, which we didn't have 10 years ago when there were dozens, even hundreds of operating systems with no interface. Today's information society could not have existed."

While Gates is traditionally hated in the U.S. by computer whizzes, many in Russia's IT business expressed indifference to the decision, saying it would have little effect on the local market.

"In Russia, it will have no effect at all. No one will even notice," said Dmitry Lyudmirsky, director of IT industry news agency Algorithm Media.

Microsoft's representative in Russia, Olga Dergunova, was unavailable for comment Thursday.

Microsoft's business in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States amounted to $37 million in revenues for fiscal year 1998, which ended in June 1999, and the company's staff in Moscow now numbers about 60 people, said Microsoft spokeswoman Maria Pichakhchi. The company also has dozens of partnership contracts and produces software jointly with several Russian companies.

Among the possible effects named by software specialists is a rise in the popularity of alternative operating systems. That would create complications for companies like Krasivov's, which designs its software solutions for Microsoft's operating systems.

"It won't be good for Microsoft if its clients suffer complications, but I am sure Microsoft will find a way to minimize them," said Sergei Proshletsov, director of systems management and computing platforms at IBS, a Moscow computer firm and systems integrator.

"Bill Gates is an outstanding person," Proshletsov added. "God grant that there be more like him in the world."