Microsoft, Intel Form Russia Alliance

Microsoft and Intel teamed up on Thursday with a noncommercial partnership to create an industry alliance to help develop the country's IT sector.

The formation of the Investment Technology Alliance, which will help startups and budding programmers and provide a springboard for software development, was announced at a news conference with representatives from the three organizations.

Alexander Kashirin, chairman of the National Union of Business Angels, said the alliance would tap into the country's rich intellectual potential by recruiting, training and supporting aspiring programmers.

The union was founded in 2006 to unite businesses, individuals and investors to spark high-tech innovation.

Birger Steen, Microsoft's general manager for Russia, said he saw the alliance "as a way to hasten the commercialization of Russia's IT sector by contributing experience and resources."

The new alliance will also help diversify the economy by facilitating the creation of new enterprises and jobs in the IT sector by funding small high-tech companies, said Dmitry Konash, Intel's regional director for Russia and the CIS.

Software development accounts for a paltry 0.15 percent of GDP, and Steen said that by providing a unified platform for members and strategic investors the alliance would increase the figure tenfold to 1.5 percent by 2015.

"This is by no means modest. Software is only 3 percent of GDP in the United States and 6 in India, so 1.5 percent would represent big progress for Russia," Steen said.