Golden age looms for Arab software, says BSA chief

The Arab world is entering a "golden age" for software, with local developers in every country in the region and Arabic software available in almost every country in the world. That's the view of Jawad Al Redha, co-chair of the Business Software Alliance's Middle East operation.

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By  Peter Branton Published  October 1, 2003

The Arab world is entering a "golden age" for software, with local developers in every country in the region and Arabic software available in almost every country in the world. That's the view of Jawad Al Redha, co-chair of the Business Software Alliance's Middle East operation.

In an exclusive interview with Windows Middle East Al Redha said that the BSA has helped to drive down software piracy rates in the region, which in turn has helped to encourage a greater degree of local software development than ever before.

"Local software developers started here before in Oman, Kuwait and so on and they closed down because they were defeated by the high rate of piracy and the ease of buying illegal software," he said. "Now we have local software developers in each country. We have Arabic software in almost every single country in the world, this is the Golden Age of Arabic software."

While the BSA's aims are generally considered laudable, the organisation has been criticised for its methods in a recent campaign. Users in the UAE complained about being requested to provide details of their software usage, while the BSA was also criticised for sending out press clippings of raids on companies using illegal software.

Al Redha defended this campaign, although he admitted the organisation would "think about it first" before conducting a similar exercise in future.
"We received a lot of criticism but I don't see why they should take it this way," he said. "We are here to remind people that they have to go legal."

See this month's Windows Middle East for the full interview.

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