Monday, May 18, 2015

Russia has decided to create a competitor to iOS and Android – RBC

On May 14, the Ministry of Communications held a meeting the head of department Nikolay Nikiforov with employees of the Finnish company Jolla and representatives of the Russian IT-industry, the ministry said on Friday. The meeting discussed the establishment of an independent Russian mobile operating system (OS), which corresponds to the plans of the Ministry of import substitution. The meeting was attended by Chairman of the Board Antti Jolla Saarni, technical director and chief designer of the company, as well as the director of technology for the dissemination of “Yandex” Gregory Bakunov and CEO of the developer of operating systems, “Alt Linux” Alexei Smirnov.

A new independent operating the system will develop the Russian IT specialists, as the basis for future product may be running open source Sailfish, which develops Jolla (in addition to the operating system it is developing smartphones and tablets), told RBC participants.

Computer import substitution

In April 2015 the head of the Ministry of Communications Nikolay Nikiforov approved a plan to import substitution. According to the document, the mobile operating systems are classified as programs for which there is no competitive domestic products: the share of imports in this segment is now 95%, but by 2025 should be reduced to 50%. The main task – to solve the problem of the inviolability of the personal data of Russian users. About a year ago, the head of the Ministry of Communications raised the issue at a meeting with the regional director of Apple in Russia Engrobom Peter Nielsen and CEO of SAP CIS Vyacheslav Orekhov. Nikiforov then asked the two companies to disclose the source code of their programs. Representatives of Apple and SAP did not comment on this request.

Make the operating system from scratch is difficult, therefore, to integrate Russia into international projects, explains the cooperation with Jolla Smirnov of “Alt Linux”. According to him, for Jolla such cooperation is beneficial, as it will give the OS the company to be widely distributed. Who in the world market is dominated by mobile operating systems Android (80,7% of sold devices in the world, according to Gartner for 2014) and iOS (15,4%). Operating systems Windows and BlackBerry OS 2.8 and occupy 0.6% of the market respectively. On other operating systems, including Sailfish, accounting for only 0.5% of devices sold in the world. In Russia, the smartphone Jolla OS Sailfish can be bought for 20 thousand. Rub.

Natives of Nokia

The company Jolla in 2011, founded by former employees of the Finnish Nokia, work in the company’s own operating system on Nokia – MeeGo based Linux, the development of which ceased after joining Stephen Elop. The company did not disclose the exact structure of the shareholders. In 2013, 6.25% of its shares for € 1 million bought a Chinese holding China Fortune , in the course of the transaction, it has been estimated at € 16 million. In 2014, on the crowdsourcing site Indiegogo company raised $ 1.8 million for 21 days from the more than 13 thousand. people, with $ 1 million has already been collected in two days. In late 2014 Jolla held another round of attracting investment – € 10 million. Investors did not disclose Jolla, known only that part of the funds came from European investors, and some – from Asian.

Jolla – an international company, “in which in addition to the ownership structure of Finnish have both Russian and Chinese shareholders” are reported to the Ministry of Communications Minister’s words Nikiforov. As told RBC market source, Russian shareholders Jolla – a group of UST Gregory Berezkina, whose fortune, according to the magazine Forbes, is $ 0.6 billion (140-th place in the ranking of the richest businessmen in Russia). This information was confirmed by a representative of RBC UST. According to him, participation in an investment round of the Finnish company – one of the last projects of ESN. The volume of investments and the resulting return for a share of the company refused to disclose the source of RBC. Employee Jolla has not responded to a request to RBC.

ESN Group specializes in energy assets. Berezkin wholly owned by the company “Rusenergoresurs” and “Rusenergosbyt M”, as well as 51% of the company “Rusenergosbyt” and 75% – “Rusenergotelekom.” UST owns engineering companies “UES Engineering Center” and “Energoauditcontrol” and Uyarskim oil terminal (100%) and a terminal in Skovorodino in the Amur region (50%). Among the group of media assets – the newspaper Metro (owns the franchise since 2009), the publishing house “Komsomolskaya Pravda” (85%) and PH “RZD-Partner” (80%).

According to the UST in the past two years, the group made “several venture capital investments in a number of projects.” For example, in 2014 a group of UST has invested $ 5 million in the Russian developer of mobile payment systems 2Can together with venture fund Almaz Capital and InVenture Partners.

Project BRICS

Work on the new mobile operating system is planned in collaboration with the BRICS, said the Ministry of Communications. “The new mobile operating system Sailfish creates a Finnish-Russian-Chinese company. Expected to join India, Brazil and South Africa, “- he wrote in his Twitter the day after meeting the head of the Ministry of Communications. Nikiforov proposed the creation of an international consortium, which will include IT-companies of Russia, Brazil, India, China and South Africa. Their employees, for example, will be able to one day a week to work on projects of the consortium, and in the remaining days to engage in basic work, he told RBC representative of the Ministry of Communications. «IT-companies will give their experts, their time will be paid by the state, and their work will be to develop the project,” – he added.

The question of how to develop a new operating system after its creation, with the IT -companies was not discussed, he told RBC source close to the meeting participants. Ministry of Communications wants to make a new product, rather than using the current version of Sailfish, the source said RBC. The success of the operating system will depend on whether it is pleasant to end users and device manufacturers, he said.

When working with Jolla will take place in the Russian market may appear devices based on Sailfish, for example, YotaPhone, expects Smirnov. Install the operating system can be any smartphone, if the manufacturer provides the appropriate program (driver), which supports the work of this unit, he added. “But manufacturers such as Apple, are not interested,” – said Smirnov.

Yota Devices representative did not answer the question of whether the company is ready to release the device in the Sailfish.

Not the first time

Russia’s attempts to create an operating system being the first year. In late 2011, the Ministry of Communications has approved the prototype of the “Russian Windows» – national software platform (GMP), which, as expected, will use officials and civil servants. Competition for its design won the company “Penguin softer” (owned by the former head of the Ministry of Communications Leonid Reiman through the fund NGI).

It was planned that the Ministry of Communications will provide for the creation of a product 490 million rubles. in 2011-2012 in the framework of the state program “Information Society».

But no means similar to Windows is not received, Smirnov says. “The Ministry of Communications in a report wrote that the artist has not provided on time high quality technical specification”, – said the expert. In that year, SPE has not received the money, and later was a change of cabinet (in 2012, President Vladimir Putin has appointed the head of the Ministry of Communications Nikolay Nikiforov, up to this point in his place Igor Shchegolev), he added.


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