U.S. IT executives might want to chip in for a lounge at New
Delhi's Indira Ghandi International Airport, given their increasing
travels to India.
Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates kicked off a four-day India
trip by outlining a plan to build 30 new innovation centers around
the world, including one in the tech-heavy Indian city of Bangalore.
All the new facilities will be open in 2006, Sanjay
Parthasarathy, a Microsoft corporate vice president in charge of the
initiative, said in a statement.
The news comes one day after Intel Chairman Craig Barrett,
during his own trip to the South Asian country, announced $1 billion
in R&D and venture capital investments over the next five years.
Microsoft will also build new centers in Latin America and Asia.
Nine are slated for construction in China. The facilities, designed
to increase the company's R&D operations and spark local
economic development, will bring Microsoft's tally of global
development centers to 90.
Microsoft already has seven offices in India; it had previously
unveiled plans to invest $400 million in India and sees great
potential there as a base of operations as well as a potential
market for its software.
By 2008, India's software industry will employ 4 million people
and will account for 8 percent of its gross domestic product and 30
percent of foreign exchange earnings, according to the National
Association of Software and Service Companies of India.
While in India this week, Gates will meet with government
officials, business leaders and programmers. He will also be in
Bangalore on Friday to lead a Webcast for the India launch of SQL
Server 2005, Visual Studio 2005 and BizTalk Server 2006.