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Gates in India: Local Players Aid .Net Effort

Gates in India: Local Players Aid .Net Effort

To deliver on the promise of its .Net platform, Microsoft is turning to Indian software development resources -- both those within the company itself, as well as third parties, such as Infosys Technologies.

Bill Gates, the company's chairman and chief software architect (CSA), who was in Delhi on Thursday on a day's visit, announced that Microsoft was expanding the strength of its India Development Center (IDC) in Hyderabad to 300 people over the next three years. Microsoft plans to invest about $US50 million during this period in expanding the center, which currently employs about 85 engineers. The IDC is a central part of Microsoft's strategy and is making an invaluable contribution to its .NET strategy, added Gates.

The IDC is developing a key product for the .NET platform, Srini Koppolu, managing director of the IDC, told IDG News Service. " We have ownership of the product, including delivering newer versions," added Koppolu. The IDC is also working on developing add-ons for the next version of Microsoft Office and a product in the Windows enterprise management area. The center already has responsibility for development of newer versions of Windows Services for Unix (SFU), including its integration with Microsoft's Interix product line to develop a unified SFU product that offers both interoperability and migration from Unix to Windows.

Microsoft also contracts software development work to a number of Indian software companies, including the Bangalore-based Wipro Ltd. Gates announced the setting up of a .Net lab in Bangalore to work with partner companies in the city.

Gates also announced that Microsoft has teamed up with one of India's leading software and services export company, Bangalore-based Infosys Technologies Ltd. Infosys is to develop a portfolio of services around Microsoft's .Net Enterprise Server platform, targeted at enterprises in India and the U.S. in the e-business, customer relationship management, financial services, insurance and retail sectors. Infosys is setting up a Microsoft practice with about 1,200 software engineers. Microsoft will take Infosys to its customers in both India and the US as part of the agreement, added Sanjay Mirchandani, managing director of Microsoft India. The tie-up will later target other markets besides India and the U.S.

Gates's visit also had a marketing component to it. He launched an MSN Web site in India (www.msn.co.in), with both local and international content, as well as announced that the next release of Windows 2000, scheduled for mid-2001, will have support for Indian languages. In India, MSN will draw on more than one million Microsoft Hotmail users in the country. When users log off Hotmail, they will be redirected to the MSN India Web site, which also offers MSN services such as the user-authentication service Passport and the Messenger chat client.

Microsoft India Development Center, in Hyderabad, India, can be reached at +91-40-666-1000 or http://www.microsoft.com/


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