Russia plans to reduce the share of foreign software in Russia to 50% by 2015. To achieve this, Russia will develop mobile and desktop operating systems, as well as cloud and database management systems, to compete with foreign options. Developers from Russia and industry from the BRICS states will realise this plan.
The Ministry of Telecom and Communications of the Russian Federation plans to set up an Autonomous Non-commercial Organization (ANO) the main task of which would be the collective development of national software in those segments where presently mostly foreign product is used. The Minister of Telecoms and Communication Nikolay Nikiforov signed this plan and included into the general plan for import substitution.
According to this plan, half of the software used in Russia by 2025 would be locally produced, down from the present numbers. Currently, the present makeup of software is as follows:
- Mobile operating systems — 95% of the market,
- Server OS operating systems – 75% of the market,
- Database management systems – 86% of the market,
- Cloud infrastructure and virtualization management systems – 93% of the market,
- User and office software – 97% of the market.
The share of imported business-applications (ERP, CRM, BI) is to be cut from 75% to 25%, antivirus software from 60% to 40%, and corporate Internet-service software for corporate use (E-mail clients, browsers) from 50% to 10%.
Mr. Nikiforov believes that this issue should be addressed through communal development together with other countries. This is why the Russian developer would cooperate with their colleagues from BRICS states.
There are several examples of successful international non-commercial unions to develop software, but they develop open-source software. Say, non-commercial consortium The Linux Foundation deals with Linux promotion internationally and one of its latest successful commercial projects is development of mobile OS Tizen. Another example is international community of developers OpenStack Foundation joining more than 18 thousand members from 140 states. This consortium develops solutions based on open-source software OpenStack that is used in private and public cloud services. However, one has to realize that these examples are special because of the size of the member companies. There such huge corporations as IBM, Hewlett-Packard and Red Hat being members of OpenStack Foundation while Samsung and Intel are members of The Linux Foundation.
The representatives of the Association of Developers of Software National Software think that in case with the Russian national consortium it is not yet clear what might be the motivations for developers to join it. As well as who is going to manage the development and who is to be the owner of the final product as well as what would be the commercial model of the consortium to be.
Representatives of Smart-Soft Company have also been skeptical. They think that one should stick with the already existing companies as long as there are a great deal of Russian software products in all the segments of the market. Besides that, these companies do not need Government money for development. The main problem is to provide for the demand of their solutions from the public offices.
The representatives of the Ministry of Telecommunications and Mass Media told Digital Report about the competitive ability of the Russian developers, and how it would be possible to persuade clients to buy national software.
DR: Will the national software be able to compete with foreign products?
Ministry of Telecommunications and Mass Media: When we undertake measures for import substitution, we take into account not only the need to stimulate purchase of high quality national software products but also to provide for higher workforce productivity than when using foreign software. This is why the draft Regulation of the Government of Russia on the preferences to the national software reads about not forbidding but only limiting the use of imported products.
DR: What segments would be supported and for whose account?
Ministry of Telecommunications and Mass Media: The preferences to the national software products will be done through budgetary purchases. This will work for the segments of corporate software (business applications, antivirus software, information security tools also used for corporate Internet-services). Moreover, there already very competitive national products in this segment. Besides this, the Ministry will solve the issue of spreading such preferences for the state-owned companies and corporations.
We also plan to support development in the segments of corporate software where there are still no successful national products currently present, i.e. client and mobile OS, server OS, database management systems, cloud infrastructure and virtualization management systems as well as user end office software.
DR: Many say it is not worthwhile to start a new organization and better invest into already existing ones. Why would you need to set up a new one?
Ministry of Telecommunications and Mass Media: We believe that setting up ANO is the most right organizational and legal form to suit the format of cooperation of commercial organizations with the Government taking part in this project. The main aim of creating such a partnership is to obtain joint solution, not to get income. Then the companies-partners of ANO will be able to commercialize their solutions by themselves. However, the primary goal is to increase the share of the national products in those segments, which we may not support only by budget purchases. This may be done only by the joint efforts of the Government and commercial entities. The draft is to be finalized and initiated by 1 June this year. The period defined for developing such software would last until the end of 2025.