How Microsoft is helping Ukrainian government and academia with IT amid political and business instability
In October 2014 Nadiya Vasylieva was appointed the new head of Microsoft’s Ukrainian division, while Dmitry Shimkiv, who had served as Microsoft’s Ukraine chief since 2009, joined the presidential administration to carry out reforms.
In an interview with The Kiyv Post and Ukraine Digital News, Ms. Vasylieva commented on the group’s situation in Ukraine, its cooperation with the government and current business prospects.
A part of a series of international investment conferences in more than 45 countries, Seed Forum Kyiv 2015 will take place on April 28 in the Ukrainian capital.
The event will present the best Ukrainian hardware and software startups with a global development potential, according to the international Seed Forum Fund’s expert committee.
Last week, the Interior ministry signed a memorandum of understanding with Microsoft regarding cooperation in the areas of data protection, as well as information and cyber security.
Rather than providing software, the company will offer information support and consultation to the specialists at MIA with regards to Microsoft products and services. Microsoft will also aid law enforcement officials in identifying and combating threats to information security.
Ukraine is known as the producer of useful software for businesses and individuals. But it also has something worthy to offer in cyber security.
ALLIT Service company released its antivirus software Zillya! in 2009, becoming the first antivirus software producer in Ukraine. Six years later, while successfully selling its product outside Ukraine, it is finding less success at home.
MacPaw, a Kyiv-based software developer, has gained popularity with its CleanMyMac, a product that helps to clean one’s MacBook computer from unnecessary files. It has Facebook, world’s biggest social network, among its clients. Mark Zuckerberg’s company purchased over 3,000 software licenses for its computers.
First CleanMyMac license was sold in 2009. The latest version of the single-computer license is sold for $39.95.
Ordinary programmers have suffered greatly from the economic sanctions against Russia. Apple and Google have fully suspended accounts belonging to Crimean software developers. Their applications are no longer available for downloading and their earnings are blocked.
Many mobile application developers in Crimea are closing their operations in order to move to Russia or Ukraine, says Alexei Sinitsa, owner of Ideas World, a mobile developer in Simferopol, one of Crimea’s largest cities. The main factor is the Ukraine Freedom Support Act, signed into force by U.S. President Barack Obama in late 2014, which forbids economic relations between American companies and those located on the Crimean peninsula.
Earlier this week Readdle, an Odessa, Ukraine-based startup operating globally, released the app “PDF Office,” a new flagship product, in the AppStore. This app is a mobile PDF editor that enables users to create and edit PDF directly on an iPad. Users can also make annotations, convert files from different formats to PDFs, and to scan documents and pages. The startup claims that this is “the best instrument on iOS for working with PDFs.”
Only the demo version is available for free, as users of the full version will need to spend $5 monthly or $40 annually for a subscription. The potential user base, in the company’s estimation, may amount to hundreds of thousands of people globally.
It has been a year since President Viktor Yanukovych refused to sign Ukraine’s EU Association Agreement, unleashing the Maidan Square street protests in Kiev that led to his ousting. His replacement, President Petro Poroshenko, signed the agreement in June.
Amongst other things, it calls for a free trade area in the next decade, steps towards visa-free travel, and Ukraine to adopt EU regulations and standards. So what does all this mean for Ukraine’s vibrant tech sector?
Ukrainian startup MyRobot.io, which defines its solution as a “mail robot secretary,” has attracted $60,000 from a group of angels through the investment platform Startup.ua. As part of a deal, the startup’s founder Bohdan Oleksandruk gave up control of 35% of the company.
The MyRobot solution reminds users of deadlines for tasks by email. Luanched just weeks ago, the service is currently confined to the Russian-language segment, but Oleksandruk plans to adapt the service for the global market.
Non-profit educational initiative Bionic University, which was created as a part of currently frozen Bionic Hill project, has teamed up with Ukrainian software development company MacPaw to launch free courses on creating applications for Apple’s iOS operating system.
After completing a 2.5 months-long course, students are expected to be able to write an app from scratch in the Objective-C programming language. The new courses dubbed “iOS Dev Core” and “iOS Dev Advanced” are aimed at people with university-level knowledge of Java, C or C++ programming language and basic understanding of Objective-C.