In further responses from the tech industry to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last week and the country’s continued aggression against its neighbor, Google and Microsoft have both now said they’re pausing sales in Russia.
We understand that Google’s pause — which is focused on its own ad sales — began last night and has been rolling out over subsequent hours. The news was reported earlier by Reuters.
It’s not the first to do this. Snap and Twitter previously announced ad sales suspensions in Russia. But Google’s ad business is of course considerably larger.
Google’s action boils down to a pause on all ads in Russia, including Search, YouTube and Display ads, effective immediately — meaning people in Russia won’t see ads from Google.
But we also understand that it does not prevent Russian advertisers from using Google’s ads services to serve ads outside Russia if they wish.
This suggests Russian publications could still seek to monetize content by serving ads to people outside the country via Google’s ad network — at a time when independent journalists in the country are facing an unprecedented crackdown. (Earlier today the Russian parliament passed a law that could land reporters in jail for up to 15 years for spreading “false” information about the military.)
Microsoft, meanwhile, has also announced its own sales suspension in Russia — writing in a blog post today that it will “suspend all new sales of Microsoft products and services in Russia”.
This presumably covers Bing ads, as well as other Microsoft services. (We’ve asked for confirmation.)
“In addition, we are coordinating closely and working in lockstep with the governments of the United States, the European Union and the United Kingdom, and we are stopping many aspects of our business in Russia in compliance with governmental sanctions decisions,” Microsoft’s president and VP Brad Smith also writes in the blog post.