Nov 6, 2009

The "Soviet Silicon Valley"

Here’s a fun fact: "During the last years of the Communist regime, Bulgaria produced 40 percent of the computers used across the Soviet Union and was known as the Soviet Silicon Valley."

Here’s another: These computers were built using technology which then-KGB agent Vladimir Putin was in charge of stealing from West German companies.

It takes a village.

Oddly, many of the factories still exist today. They remain a point of national pride for millions of Bulgarians. And, yes, they’re really located in a valley. Just don't make any jokes about communist-era computers. It doesn’t go over well.

Bulgaria now wants to use it's computing prowess to compete with India as an IT outsourcing hub. This will make my next call to Dell’s tech support people even more hilarious.

“No, seriously, what’s your real name…Ted? No, I'm not looking forward to The Christmas. My computer is broken.”


Dmitri Minaev said...

Bulgaria also produced the software used on these computers. My career in IT started in 1987, when I worked at a Russian company and we signed a contract with Bulgaria to translate the Oracle manuals into Russian. The Bulgarians "localized" the software and sold it as their own database called KARS. Oh, and we wrote software for this database using the "Bulgarian" Microsoft C compiler.

Pirates(and)Diplomats said...

I didn't know about the software part. That's really cool.