Move over US software monopoly...
This article originally appeared at The Moscow Times
A Russian IT company has launched a project to develop a locally built cloud computing platform, the Kommersant newspaper reported Monday.
The new cloud service, used to store data online, will challenge existing U.S. platforms such as Microsoft Azure and Amazon Cloud, the paper reported, citing a video presentation of the project by its creator, a company called Parallels.
The move comes as officials promote local IT services and technology to reduce the country's reliance on Western know-how.
The platform — to be called Rosplatforma — “will become the foundation of Russia's electronic sovereignty [and] a strategic export to countries seeking technological independence from the U.S.,” Kommersant quoted the video as saying.
Foreign software currently accounts for more than 75 percent of the Russian market — worth 90 billion rubles ($1.4 billion) per year, according to the video.
If it can create a working product, Parallels will have a competitive advantage over foreign rivals: Under a law that comes into force on Jan. 1 next year, the state will not be allowed to buy foreign software if there is an available domestic version.
Parallels is currently majority foreign owned — but it plans to change its ownership structure once it has a product to qualify for the law, according to Kommersant.
The company, which operates the Parallels and Odin brands, plans to design its cloud platform by the end of the next year. The project aims to raise investment of more than 1 billion rubles ($16 million), Kommersant said.
But aside from foreign competitors, Parallels will have to compete in the Russian market with state-controlled telecoms operator Rostelecom, which in 2012 launched the cloud platform O7.