25 Sep 2023 09:51

Rostelecom mulls new partners for Aurora OS developer

KAZAN. Sept 25 (Interfax) - Rostelecom is considering bringing new partners into Open Mobile Platform LLC (OMS) and there are several potential buyers for a stake in the developer of the Aurora operating system, the national telecom providers senior vice president, Kirill Menshov told reporters.

National daily Kommersant, citing sources, reported earlier that Rostelecom had consolidated 100% of OMP after exercising an option to buy out 25% from a company controlled by businessman Grigory Berezkin. The change of ownership has not yet been entered into the Unified State Register of Legal Entities, but a source close to a party in the deal confirmed that Berezkin has divested his stake in OMP and the "agreement on exercising the option has already been approved by the board of directors," the paper said.

Menshov said there are now many contenders to join the project and Rostelecom is studying the possibility of bringing in new partners.

"We're considering [bringing in a partner]. Honestly, we have a line-up of partners. And you know all these companies very well, they are all in the Russian ecosystem," Menshov said on the sidelines of the Kazan Digital Week forum.

"We, of course, are just at the very beginning of deliberation - do we really want this? Because bringing in any partner automatically means a change in relations between other partners, there's a lot of competition in the system. What was good about our previous partner? He was equally distant from everyone," Menshov said.

He said there are device manufacturers and software developers among the companies interested in acquiring a stake in OMP, but he did not name them.

He also said that Rostelecom is not interested in a financial partner, because it is capable of financing the development of Aurora independently, it wants a partner who can bring "additional value to the development of the ecosystem."

"If we take on a partner, we need a partner who will bring value. We have money, we know where to get it. But a partner who will bring definite value and will not hurt the nascent ecosystem, not create yet another pole of power in it that will start to push away or, the opposite, pull in someone, that's a big challenge," Menshov said.

Asked how big a stake in OMP Rostelecom might sell, he said that previously a stake of 20% to 40% was discussed, but after the reports about the buyout of Berezkin's stake, "everyone started contending specifically for this stake."

Menshov also said that Rostelecom is considering attracting multiple partners and implementing the Aurora Foundation project, an open community that would form the Aurora ecosystem together.

"It approximately comes down to the following: in creating the Aurora ecosystem, we are not trying to replicate Google or Apple, who build closed ecosystems. Our concept is to make the ecosystem a Russian open platform. If there is such a service in Russia, it should be integrated into this platform," Menshov said.

"The Aurora Foundation is our original idea, so as to band together everyone who is already developing apps, not just so that they make a version for Aurora, but so that, just like Apple or Google, they deeply integrate this within. So that there are not just preinstalled apps, so to speak, but like when you buy an Apple telephone and all the apps are already there, they're all lined up and there is a link between them. In other words, an integrated ecosystem," Menshov said.