Russia is taking its adversarial relationship with the United States to a whole new level. Now Moscow wants to get rid of the U.S. mobile operating systems Android and iOS. According to research firm Gartner, Android has 81% market share in Russia, followed by Apple’s iOS with about 15% market share.
Russia’s new OS to be based on Sailfish
Russia’s Minister for Communication and Mass Media, Nikolai Nikiforov, recently held a meeting with Finland-based Jolla executives to help build a Russian operating system. Nikiforov has also sought the help of the Linux community. Jolla is the developer of open-source Sailfish operating system. Nikiforov told Russian financial newspaper RBC that the government wanted to reduce the share of non-Russian mobile platforms to less than 50% by 2025.
Sailfish has a paltry 0.5% share in Russia. But its open source nature and no link with the United States can make it a strong platform in Russia in the future. Nikiforov added that he would encourage other BRICS countries (Brazil, India, China and South Africa) to participate in the initiative. He plans to involve IT companies from each of the BRICS nations to work on this pan-BRICS initiative.
Новую мобильную ОС Sailfish создает финско-российско-китайская компания. Ожидаем присоединения Индии, Бразилии и ЮАР http://t.co/H1yMQNghV0
— Nikolay Nikiforov (@nnikiforov) May 15, 2015
China may be of immense help to Russia
He said the goal was to secure the personal data of Russian citizens. Recently, the Kremlin passed a new law that requires all foreign companies to save the data of Russian citizens on Russian soil. The involvement of BRICS countries, especially China, will be beneficial to the initiative. China has been working on its own mobile OS for about six years now.
China started working on its OPhone OS in 2009, but the project was scrapped in 2011. Currently, the Institute of Software at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (ISCAS) is developing China Operating System (COS) to lower the country’s reliance on iOS and Android.
Russia has also tried developing its own OS in the past. In 2011, the Ministry of Communications approved a project to develop “Russian Windows,” to be used by civil servants and government officials. But that project was scrapped a year later.