Work is underway which could see Sailfish picking-up support from Russia’s authorities, giving it a boost in a market that has already seen some push-back against the dominance of Google’s Android.
According to the Ministry of Telecom and Mass Communications of the Russian Federation, minister Nikolay Nikiforov has held meetings with Sailfish Holding and other stakeholders. The topic was “use of operating system with open code in public and private sectors taking into account technical, economic and political factors and possibilities for creation of international industrial consortium for development of alternative software products on the base of open operating system and relying on collaboration with BRICS-countries”.
With regard to the relationship with other BRICS markets, Nikiforov said: “They all worry about existing monopoly on global software market and support us in this sphere.”
He noted that Sailfish has backers from Finland, Russia and China.
The move would come as a useful boost to Sailfish in its efforts to become a global challenger platform. While the OS has been used in Jolla devices, it has previously said that it sees itself primarily as a software player – although as yet it has not secured support from any other manufacturer.
It was reported earlier this year that Russian search giant Yandex had been approached by the EU with regard to the activities of Google, which mandates the default search engine and app placement on devices that are able to access its Play content store – essentially giving vendors an “all or nothing” choice when it comes to its services.
While Yandex has created its own version of Android which has been customised to reduce the influence of Google, this has not seen widespread vendor support.
In contrast, Jolla has made much of the customisation capabilities of Sailfish, meaning it could be tailored to a Russian consumer base with local market products and services. Indeed, Yandex and Jolla already have a partnership covering Android app distribution, which could be extended to create a Russia-oriented Sailfish flavour.
Jolla launched its eponymous smartphone into the Russian market late last year.