The Egyptian government has started enforcing its copyright laws and set up a working group, which includes Microsoft, in an attempt to boost its indigenous software industry and attract local and foreign investment.
The working group's aim is to examine how to grow the local software market, with the target of turning the Sinai Technology Valley into a second Silicon Valley. So far, the group includes a representative from the Ministry of Commerce, Microsoft and reseller, Orison.
Other dealers, Vars and suppliers will be encouraged to join, although IBM and Oracle are the only two other vendors that have a direct presence in the country.
Sharon Bailey, Microsoft?s anti-piracy manager for the Emea region, said: ?According to BSA [British Software Alliance] figures, some 88 per cent of software used in Egypt in pirated, which lost the industry $18 million last year. When the Egyptian government invited us to be involved in a strategic relationship to help grow the software industry, we suggested that if they don?t protect it or the intellectual property, they won?t be able to attract investment.?
The government has also proposed cutting import tariffs on hardware and software offerings from 30 to five per cent in an attempt to reduce the need for piracy by making products cheaper for consumers.
But, Microsoft is taking advantage of its new status with the government by hiring a local replicator to manufacture software targeted at the local business community in the hope of cashing in.
The supplier, which has yet to be formally signed up, will start work in October and produce a suite, which includes the Word word processor, Excel spreadsheet and Arabic Themes. This enables users to customise their desktop.
Microsoft also hopes to set up authorised training centres (ATC) for small businesses and individuals. These will get free training licenses, on becoming an ATC.
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