Malta partners with Microsoft
- Maltese to be standard language in future XP releases
Citing the rapid development of Maltas information
society, Maltas pending EU membership
bid and a common long-term ICT vision shared by Microsoft and the Maltese
government, Microsoft and the Maltese government have signed a long-term
agreement intended to transform Malta into an ICT jewel in the Mediterranean.
Meeting in Paris last week, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates and Justice
Minister Austin Gatt also responsible for the information society
discussed how Microsoft and the government are to co-operate
to rapidly transform Malta into an information and communication technology
hub for the Mediterranean.
The agreement will see a Lm20 million Microsoft investment in Malta
and its students over a three-year time frame.
Interestingly, as part of the agreement the Maltese language will be
introduced as a standard language in future releases of Windows XP
the most used operating system in the world.
Discussions were focused mainly on the rapid expansion of Malta as a
regional centre of excellence for software development. The move is
expected to attract a number of independent software vendors to set
up their operations in Malta and create more opportunities for Maltese
Through the agreement, Microsoft will invest heavily in Malta and in
Maltese students and employees with a view of being a key player in
the further development of the countrys information society and
Indeed, the framework agreement is expected to serve as a launching
pad for Maltas software development industry, with Microsoft uncharacteristically
opening up its closely guarded source code of its latest operating systems
and a large amount of intellectual property to local and foreign software
development companies, along with access to the multinationals
global marketing and technical support networks.
The Maltese government will be one of the first in Europe to enrol in
the Government Security Programme, enabling the government to step up
the efficiency and security of its internal and e-Government systems.
Microsoft will also be subsidising over 98 per cent of the cost of Microsoft
Office XP Professional and Visual Basic Studio software, plus all pertinent
upgrades over the next three years. The agreement also covers the installation
of the latest version of Microsoft Encarta educational package in each
classroom in primary schools, computer laboratory in secondary schools,
public libraries and Internet centres at Local Councils.
A Microsoft IT Academy will also be set up in Malta, offering over 25
high-end training specialisations and certifications to Maltese students
and employees, while the disabled will be given more widespread access
to ICTs through a programme of co-operation in.
Microsoft will also provide direct technical and financial assistance
for the development of ICT-Governance within the public administration.
An unprecedented joint effort to establish Malta as a best practice
location for the protection of Intellectual Property Rights was also
agreed upon, further enhancing Maltas image and reputation as
a software development hub. The protection of IPR is a critical success
factor in the positive development of any software development industry.
It is mutually agreed that at this specific point in time, in which
the global ICT industry is facing budgeting constraints and serious
security threats, Malta could be promoted as a country that strongly
respects and actively protects intellectual property rights. Microsoft
will be providing software, equipment, training and continuous technical
support to the key Maltese agencies involved in this effort.