KSA software developers want more Arabic Web content

Software developers and ISPs in Saudi Arabia are screaming out for more Arabised Web content and Arabic applications, citing this as the main reason that Arabs are slow taking to the Internet.

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By  Michelle Sturman Published  March 8, 2001

Saudi Arabian software developers and an ISP spoke out on the pressing need for more Arabic Web content, and a better class of Arabic applications recently.

In the course of a round of meetings in Riyadh recently, itp.net was told repeatedly that this lack of local language support is slowing the use of IT and the use of the Web among Arabs.

"There is no Arabic software here. In Saudi Arabia there are no good solutions for real problems, and we need them. We need security software. There is a very big gap between the Arabic user and English software, and the software that Microsoft creates is not enough. We need more," Fahad Alghanim, technical manager for SisaSoft told itp.net.

SisaSoft is a developer of Arabic software, including what Alghanim says is the first Arabic security and anti-virus software package. He says that more efforts need to be made by more developers in order to increase the scope of solutions on offer, as opposed to the hundreds of multimedia packages available.

"90% of the software here is multimedia stuff. And it is not enough," he told itp.net.

Ayed Hallaf, managing director of Electronic Concepts echoed those sentiments referring to the "big proportion of Saudis who do not speak English."

Those people will fail to be attracted by PCs and the Web until there is more Arabic software and more and better localised content for them, he told itp.net.

ISP Vodatel said that the company that introduce more Arabic content will be a winner.

"The Saudis want more Arabic content. Of the 300,000 subscribers, 50-75% are not Arabic. A big portion of them do not speak English, those who study inside the Kingdom, their English is almost nil," said Ghassan Mounla, deputy general manager, Vodatel.

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