Microsoft to invest $1.7 bn in India over next 4 years
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Microsoft to invest $1.7 bn in India over next 4 years

The global software giant will also increase headcount in India by 3,000.

india Updated: Dec 07, 2005 16:56 IST

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates said on Wednesday the US software giant plans to invest $1.7 billion (euro1.45 billion) in India and nearly double its work force in the country over the next four years.

About half of the money would be spent on its existing research and development centre, its global software delivery unit and expanding to 33 more cities by opening retail outlets.

Microsoft said it will scale up its India operations by increasing the local headcount by 3,000 over three to four years, taking the total strength to 7,000.

"We depend on India for manpower that is why we are scaling operations. We have 4,000 people today and we will be 7,000 over the next three to four years. We are hiring as fast as we can," Gates said here at the CII-CEO Forum.

The percentage increase in employees would be the highest in India, he said.

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"They will play a key part in product development, research and support services," Gates said.

Microsoft currently has three centres in the country - India Development Centre at Hyderabad, an R&D and Global Technical Support Centre in Bangalore.

Stating that applications for local use should be done by local developers, he said that with regard to handwriting and speech recognition software Microsoft would work with local experts to make sure it applies to all broadly used languages.

Gates was emphatically impressed with India's human resource saying, "India has a fantastic pool of software professionals... The world needs to benefit from this. I never thought with so little product companies software services sector will grow so strong as it has grown here."

The Microsoft chairman was also appreciative of India's "decreasing digital divide".

"Digital divide is nowhere today as bad as it was few years ago in India," he said.

Gates said that both Government and the industry had a role to play in digital inclusion with focus on low-cost computing.

"We created the fourth research centre in India. We have one each in US, Europe and China. We said the there will be low-cost computers and this will lead the way to make breakthroughs," he said.

Earlier, speaking on 'Realising India's Potential', he outlined four factors, including leadership, productivity, digital inclusion and innovation, as determining factors.

First Published: Dec 07, 2005 10:36 IST