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Microsoft plans 3,000 new jobs in India

Posted by iMark - 2005-12-07

Microsoft chairman Bill Gates said that the US software giant plans to nearly double its workforce in India and invest 1.7 billion dollars in the next four years.
"We depend on India for manpower that is why we are scaling up operations here," Gates said at a business forum in New Delhi.

Microsoft employees in India total "around 4,000 today and it will be around 7,000 in the next three to four years," Gates told the Confederation of Indian Industry, a leading business organisation.

"We are hiring as fast as we can," he said, adding that India has a fantastic pool of software professionals.

The new hiring is part of a "conservative estimate" of 1.7 billion dollars (1.45 billion euro) the company will spend in India, Gates told a press conference.

"This amount will be deployed across select focus areas over the next four years, in line with Microsoft's strategic vision for India," Gates said.

He said the money will be spent on bringing computer services to hundreds of millions of poor rural people in India as well as increasing its marketing and research work in the country.

The world's leading software maker outsources many services to India where wage costs are far below those in the West.

Underlining the importance of India in Microsoft's future plans, Gates said his company had opened a research centre in Bangalore this year with the aim of taking computers into rural India.

The Bangalore research centre is Microsoft's fourth in the world -- the others are located in the United States, Europe and China.

"As we created the fourth here in India, we said the theme of that would be low-cost computing," he said. "We said then there will be low-cost computers and this will lead the way to make breakthroughs."

Gates also outlined plans to bridge the so-called digital divide in India and other poor countries that describes the prohibitive costs of software, hardware and communications for poor people that limits economic growth.

"For India to sustain economic growth it needs to leverage IT (information technology) as an enabler and focus on rapidly expanding two key areas: literacy and productivity," Gates told a meeting of business leaders.

He said Microsoft aimed to provide software and support for 100,000 information centres that would allow 700 million people in rural India to get prices on crops and access to government services.

In addition, Microsoft planned to adopt 100 schools in six Indian states to provide computers and equipment for interactive learning.

For Indian technology companies, he promised more help as well including training for their employees and customers including a chain of 700 retail outlets to sell Microsoft software.

But the biggest part of its investment is aimed at using India as a base for research and development for new products and services that recognises "India's talent pool."

India employs 700,000 people in software and support services, up from 7,000 a decade ago as companies abroad outsource work to tap into its low-cost, highly-skilled labour force.

Gates arrived Tuesday in India on a three-day trip during which he planned to mix business with charity.

After his arrival, Gates pledged to support India's efforts to develop vaccines for tuberculosis.

India, which faces a growing AIDS epidemic, accounts for 25 percent of the world's tuberculosis patients.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, founded in 1995, which works to improve public health and education in developing countries, has also launched an AIDS prevention campaign in India.

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