Microsoft Rraps Ukraine On Piracy

KIEV, Ukraine -- Microsoft Ukraine, a 100 percent subsidiary of multinational software giant Microsoft, has blamed the Ukrainian government for failing to curtail software piracy in the country, noting that Ukrainian government agencies themselves have been too slow in replacing the unlicensed software they use with licensed software.

Ukrainian government agencies were obliged to legalize their Microsoft software, particularly Microsoft Windows and Office, between 2005 and 2007 in accordance with an agreement signed between Microsoft Ukraine and the Cabinet of Ministers in 2005.

But Valeriy Lanovenko, general director of Microsoft Ukraine, said that the government has been sluggish to implement the terms of the agreement.

According to Lanovenko, only 12 percent of the government’s obligations were fulfilled in 2005 and less than 3 percent in the first half of 2006.

“We have communicated our particular concern to those responsible in connection with the failure to fulfill the obligations,” said Lanovenko during a press conference on June 7.

Ukrainian government agencies need 120,000 copies of software to function, according to an audit conducted by the State Department for Intellectual Property.

Microsoft Ukraine agreed to provide licensed software to the government at a 50 to 60 percent discount, plus train state personnel in how to use it.

The company has fulfilled its side of the bargain, making a significant investment in the deal, said Lanovenko, who declined to disclose the exact amount of money that Microsoft invested.

“The slow pace of legalization of software used by government agencies sets a bad example for the market and complicates the effort to legalize software in the country in general,” he said, adding that if they do not receive a proper response from the government by July 1, Microsoft Ukraine does not rule out terminating the agreement.

The accusations came just weeks after International Data Corporation, an independent research firm, released a report on positive trends in the reduction of software piracy in the country based on results from last year.

According to the report, the share of illegal software in Ukraine fell from 91 to 85 percent in 2005, which moved the country from third to sixth place on the list of 20 countries with the highest level of pirated software.

Lanovenko said that last year’s trends have not continued into this year.

Oleh Kytaitsev, deputy head of the information technologies and computerization department at the Ministry of Education, which signed the agreement with Microsoft Ukraine on behalf of the Ukrainian government, admitted that implementation has been slow.

He said some government agencies that are independently responsible for legalization of their own software have not made the task a priority and have not allocated money to acquire legal software.

“Our Ministry fulfilled its part of the agreement, holding informative meetings and sending out letters about preferential conditions on which the licensed software can be bought,” said Kytaitsev.

“But the main responsibility for this task lies with the agencies themselves,” he said.

Source: Kyiv Post


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