Bridging the digital divide in India is as much a business opportunity for Microsoft Corporation as it a societal commitment, said Steve Ballmer, its chief executive, in the capital on Wednesday.
The $44 billion bellwether is transforming itself in its bid to cater to forthcoming generations in developing nations. India is the largest test arena for emerging technology and design for the software major.
"A digitally inclusive society needs enabling innovation and engineering effort. One of the greatest shift within Microsoft is to design technology that can empower the last of the billion population," he said. In India, Microsoft's initiative to make Windows operating system available in a majority of Indian languages was the first step in this direction.
The last decade—with the advent of the personal computer, cellphones and the internet—may have been an interesting period in the history of mankind, he said, but the next decade will be even more so. "It will present the most amazing opportunities," said Ballmer.
On the first day of his three-day visit to India, Ballmer met Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Union Minister for Communications and IT Dayanidhi Maran on Wednesday. Ballmer is scheduled to visit Mumbai on Thursday and Hyderabad on the last day of his visit.
The Microsoft chief also announced a strategic alliance with Hutchison Essar Ltd earlier in the day.