The FINANCIAL -- Various measures implemented by Microsoft in Georgia and a license agreement of the Georgian government have contributed to the perception that software piracy rate in Georgia has been reduced. A high level of security at state structures and in the commercial sector gives Georgia the image of a reliable partner for existing and potential investors.
In his exclusive interview with The FINANCIAL, Nikoloz Doborjginidze, Director General at Microsoft Georgia, overviewed the market of operating systems in Georgia.
Q. What is the number of licensed users of Microsoft in Georgia?
A. We expect BSA to release its bi-annual Global Software Study soon, which will include the rate of unlicensed software use in Georgia for all software, not only Microsoft. It is difficult to say what the results will be, but we hope to see a substantial reduction of this rate. Various measures implemented by Microsoft and the Government’s license agreement will play a crucial role in this expected success.
This was a great achievement in the field of intellectual property rights and not only that. We also believe that this has provided an enhanced security for state bodies, and therefore, Georgia is acquiring the image of a reliable partner for existing and potential investors.
We believe that Intellectual property protection needs to be done in a public-private partnership, but we also believe that by protecting intellectual property we all support doing business conscientiously. It means supporting start-ups and international investments in the IT sector. One such positive first example is Netflix.
Q. What is the ratio of Microsoft and other operating systems in Georgia?
A. The launch of Windows 10 made this trend positive. In addition to enhanced security it offered a completely new experience to users. At the same time it maintained the simplicity of interaction with PCs.
Q. Has the Georgian Government completed all the processes related to the implementation of purchased programmes?
A. The Government should be considered a huge enterprise with thousands of employees and quite a difficult infrastructure. Implementing any changes in such a structure requires big resources and also time. The main part of the work related to the implementation process was performed last year. Development of information technologies is not a project. It is a process and we are all taking steps together in this direction.
Q. What is the ratio of operating systems in financial and banking structures?
A. The financial sector is one of the most developed in terms of technologies and security in Georgia. Personal data is processed in this sector. Accordingly, lack of security can be critical in this sector. In addition, trust and honesty form the basis of financial relations. They will be unable to require trust from customers if they do not provide the same approach to business instrument suppliers. This is why we urge all the financial sector to have tight controls on their software procurement in order to avoid reputational, security and legal risks.
Q. How can the usage of unlicensed software be controlled in the private sector?
A. Our main approach is: “Educate”!
We are providing the market with some of the most developed and protected software. Whereas previously our Georgian customers were mainly using computers for work, currently the prevalence of the PC is one of the biggest in the region. The majority of the population has at least one personal computer at home. PCs are mostly used for personal correspondence, banking and other services. In several occasions, consumers and companies do not realise the dangers they face by using unlicensed software, which is why we try to educate them on these dangers. Also, we try to educate them on being unwitting victims of software piracy and we are working very hard to have a clean software channel.
Q. As we know, unlicensed programmes and movies are mostly distributed via the internet by sites controlled by internet providers. How realistic is blocking such sites in Georgia and have you discussed the issue with providers?
A. We have good relations with all internet service providers. They are part of the front line of not only copyright but of cybersecurity, which is why we aim to collaborating with them. We are working to implement some plans during the year. Unfortunately, I cannot yet elaborate on the information about these projects, but I am sure that consumers and local businesses, will benefit from our partnership with internet service providers.