13:40 | 01.06.15 | Interviews | exclusive 7832

Yeva Hyusyan: Microsoft will bring “pricey” practice and knowledge to Armenia

A few days ago the Armenian government and Microsoft signed long-term agreements to cooperate in IT development, protection of intellectual property rights, data security, education and innovations in Armenia.

It was also announced that Microsoft will establish a regional center for cloud and mobile solutions in Armenia on the basis of Microsoft Innovation Center (MIC). 

With regard to this Itel.am talked to Director at Microsoft RA Yeva Hyusyan.

-What will the new regional center for cloud and mobile solutions be engaged in?

-There are around 140 Microsoft Innovation Centers in the world the majority of which are mostly training-based. MIC Armenia is one of top centers in terms of startups and acceleration programs. And it’s mainly due to this that along with three other MICs, MIC Armenia was selected by Microsoft Corporation as a pilot area for the acceleration program.

By the way, the new center will be opened based on present MIC Armenia. Yes, there will not be a new territory, but there will be a new content in the territory of the present center. There will be more trainings for mobile and cloud solutions, and we will pay more attention to startups operating in this area. If you are a mobile and cloud technology-based company, then you will surely get more support at the center.

Armenia is the first country where Microsoft is establishing a center aimed at the development of cloud and mobile technologies and startups, based on Microsoft Innovation Center. The practice and technologies that will be brought to Armenia cost millions of dollars. It enables to create a certain new model, which can extend to other countries as well.

The establishment of the cloud and mobile technology center will give impetus to the development of technologies in our country. It is unprecedented in that the future belongs to cloud technologies and we should position here as fast as possible. As to data security, it helps us have better protected and properly built infrastructures.

-Could you specify the details of the agreements signed?

-Microsoft Armenia has been operating since 2007. Back then, the latter and the Armenian government signed the first agreement defining the main areas of cooperation. The three areas include establishment of MIC Armenia, cooperation in education and licensed use of Microsoft products by the Armenian government.

Over the past years we made great progress with regard to the first two areas. As to the third, over a long period of time we negotiated with the Armenian government on the licensed use of Microsoft products.

The main factor contributing to concluding the deal was the rapid development of this sector, which had already gone across the Armenian borders and had entered the international scene. Protection of intellectual property is an important factor in positioning your country as a serious player in the international market.

We know that various projects promoting the development of the sector are carried out and this is another step to position Armenia as a foremost country protecting intellectual property.

We have also negotiated over a package beneficial for both parties. In late September last year, negotiations entered an intensive phase and within the framework of Armtech Congress 2014, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed by the Ministry of Economy of Armenia and Microsoft in New York on September 26. The MoU outlined the common areas that could be developed. Over the past six-seven months we were preparing the package, which was finally made a reality in late May. Certain things in the package are available for only Armenia and we are proud of that.

-What investments will Microsoft make in Armenia in the near future? Will new jobs be created?

-There will be investments but purely in the content. No new building will be built. As to new jobs, on annual basis, around 2000 people participate in the Center’s activities this or that way. Since 2011, we have supported around 200 startups. We are today speaking of doubling this number, at the least. And we want to do it through state-of-the-art technologies.

I believe investment in the content is of utmost importance for Armenia. As to creating more jobs, the number of trainings will increase – if the number of participants increases, then naturally, the number of jobs will also rise. The establishment of 50 instead of 10 startups will also create more jobs.

As of today, we do not consider opening a Microsoft Development Center, which will be self-financed and will employ people. It’s a distant goal. We say “develop our eco-system and bring your practice and specialists to Armenia for us to be able to take advantage of global products competitive in the international market.” I believe, as of now, it’s the best support we can have.

Narine Daneghyan talked to Yeva Hyusyan