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St. Petersburg hosts software outsourcing summit 2003

5 Jun 2003 viewed (958)  comments (1) 



By Christopher Kenneth

Russoft will hold its third international forum on software outsourcing in Russia in St. Petersburg, keeping up the string of events lined up to mark the tercentenary of the city.

The forum titled "Russia's Possibilities in Exporting and Development of Software Programs" will provide a venue for the evaluation of the role and participation of Russian software experts in the global software industry, Valentin Makarov, Russoft president and chairman of the forum said Tuesday in Moscow ahead of the summit slated for June 25-28.

Russoft is a national software-development association comprising about 50 companies with over 6,000 highly qualified software experts from Russia and Belarus. Its member-companies' gross export turnover in 2002 was about $150 million, which was about 50 percent of the sector's overall export turnover for the year.

The summit organizers said about 500 delegates are expected from Europe, Asia and the United States. These include top Russian and St. Petersburg government officials as well as representatives of Nokia, Intel, Sun Microsystems, Siemens, QAI India, Lycos, Teliasonera and Yankee Group.

Makarov noted that the forum will also cover other aspects of software development in Russia, including a review of prevailing trends in other countries such as India and Ireland, while guests and international software experts will use the occasion to give their views on the state of the Russian software industry. "And, the summit will also create a conducive environment for software developers to make direct contacts with the users of their products." Executives at Russia's office of the U.S.-based Intel Technologies Inc., the summit's gold sponsor were very upbeat about the summit and its future impact on the local software-development industry.

"It's very important for Russia to keep on developing its software, information technology (IT) and telecommunications sectors because they are very competitive," said Stephen Chase, Intel's president in Russia.

Other speakers said the development of a software industry right here in Russia is very important for several reasons. "First off, it partly solves the problems of brain drain as more and more Russian top scientists are now staying back home, knowing they can be gainfully employed," Chase said. "Consequently, Russia's higher educational institutions are stimulated as they receive more official funding or special grants from international investors to embark on further researches into fundamental and applied sciences." Chase said the summit will also provide a forum for exchanging ideas on the global software development as well as provide a venue for addressing negative issues such as lack of adequate protection for intellectual-property rights and the escalating problems of piracy, which still controls up to 90 percent of the sector's gross output.

Citing press reports, he said Russia is the third-largest piracy country in the world, and that U.S. high-tech companies lose approximately $500 million every year in Russia through piracy. He further noted that the size of the industry, reportedly worth about $1.4 billion, could've been, at least, twice as big if these negative factors were curtailed.

"These negative factors are partly the reason why major investors in the sphere of high technology are currently shunning Russia as an investment destination for their capital," he added. And, these problems also equally hurt the local software companies for fear of having their works pirated even before they leave the drawing rooms, he added.

Meanwhile, Chase lauded the raft of legislation recently enacted by the Russian government as one of the best on the global marketplace. "Our next step now is to strive for its effective and comprehensive enforcement."

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St. Petersburg hosts software outsourcing summit 2003