Microsoft (MSFT) and Oracle (ORCL) Join Tech Exodus From Russia

Technology companies are exiting Russia as the Russia-Ukraine conflict continues

On March 4, Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) announced that it would stop sales of its new products in Russia as the conflict between Russia and Ukraine continues. Facebook parent Meta Platforms, Inc. (FB) also stopped Russian state media from running ads on its worldwide platform on March 4. Meanwhile, Google parent Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL) barred Russia's state-owned media channels from receiving money from ads.

Earlier, on March 2, Oracle Corporation (ORCL) said that it would suspend its operations in Russia, while its rival SAP SE (SAP) said that it would suspend sales in the country. Apple Inc. (AAPL) announced that it would stop online sales of iPhones, Macbooks, and other devices in Russia shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022. While access to the App Store will continue, Apple has restricted access to Russia's state channels Russia Today and Channel One outside Russia.

Spotify Technology S.A. (SPOT) closed its Moscow office, although it continued to allow access to its content to counter fake news that may be circulated officially by the Kremlin.

Key Takeaways

  • A growing number of technology companies are suspending operations and sales in Russia.
  • Several vital sectors in Russia will be hit due to this mass exodus.
  • Earlier restrictions by the Russian government on some companies such as Meta and Alphabet sought to prevent news that contradicted the official Russian version of events.
  • Increasingly, companies are withdrawing support for Russia's state-supported media channels Russia Today and Channel One.

Corporate Exodus

So far, 230 companies have announced plans either to suspend operations or to stop new sales of their products and services in Russia. Netflix, Inc. (NFLX), which has around 1 million subscribers in Russia, announced on Sunday, March 6, that it is pulling out of the country. China-based TikTok also announced its plans to suspend live streaming and new content for its video service on the same day after Russia passed a law that could send people spreading "fake news" to prison.

In the hospitality and travel industries, Airbnb, Inc. (ABNB) and The Boeing Company (BA) have suspended their operations in Russia. Airbnb has over 90,000 short-term rentals in the country, while Boeing's decision to withdraw support will affect Russia's 700 western aircraft.

In the energy sector, BP PLC (BP), Shell PLC (SHEL), and Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM) announced that they would exit a large oil project and stop all investments in Russia. Ford Motor Company (F) has also announced its plans of suspending projects in Russia.

Curtailed Individual and Corporate Freedom

Meta, Alphabet, Netflix, and Twitter, Inc. (TWTR) had previously been given limited access to state-owned channels Russia Today (RT) and Channel One, as the Russian government accused the social media companies of inciting war. Russia's state communications regulator Roskomnadzor also reimposed a slowdown on Twitter's loading speed in order to control what it claims to be fake news about the Russian aggression in Ukraine.

The Russian government also imposed bans of several kinds to prevent foreign companies and investors from fleeing Russian assets, and the ruble plummeted. The ban also extended to cash exports exceeding $10,000.

As economic sanctions against Russia mount, private companies are joining a vociferous global protest against the invasion of Ukraine. Some of these companies provide vital services, especially on the technology front, and their withdrawal augurs ill for Russia as the war continues.

Article Sources
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  2. Reuters. "Oracle Suspends Operations in Russia."

  3. Macrumors. "Apple Stops Sales in Russia."

  4. TheStreet. "These Are All the Big Companies Pulling Out of Russia."

  5. Yale. "Over 200 Companies Have Withdrawn From Russia."

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  8. Reuters. "Russia Seeks to Halt Investor Stampede as Sanctions Hammer Economy."

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