Communist-Era Apple II Clones 'Helped Shape Central Europe's IT Sector'

Views on BG | February 14, 2016, Sunday // 12:15
Bulgaria: Communist-Era Apple II Clones 'Helped Shape Central Europe's IT Sector' A Pravetz PC, produced in Bulgaria in the 1980s. File photo

Bulgaria and Romania can partly trace the roots of their current tech boom to the communist years and "the romantic era of home computing", a recent article says.

At the time, Bulgaria and Romania's school curricula "were packed with math, electronics, and physics" due to the need for skilled professionals who could "reverse-engineer" Western technology.

As a result, there was a point when Bulgaria "produced 40% of the computers used in the whole Eastern Bloc", with the sector accounting for 14% of GDP between 1985 and 1990.

"Much of the growth of the tech industry in the two countries is based on the former computer-experimenting kids, now aged in their 30s and 40s, who fell in love with technology at the display of a [Bulgarian] Pravetz or an HC machine [made in Romania]," the article notes. (A Bulgarian entrepreneur has recently sought to revive the brand of Pravetz.)

Some of the computers produced in Bulgaria, however, did not resemble Apple products.

"Sometimes the parameters of our similar products were better than the Western goods," Kiril Boyanov, a computer science academic, is quoted as saying, adding Bulgarian engineers were able to correct some shortcomings of the originals.

The text also mentions Svetozar Georgiev, the co-founder of Telerik, who sold the company to US-based Progress Software for USD 262 M, in one of that year's biggest tech deals in Eastern Europe.

You can read the full article here.


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Tags: Bulgaria, Romania, IT, computers, Svetozar Georgieva, Kiril Boyanov, Apple II

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