"Microsoft is scaling up its activities in this country in a substantial number of ways. IT has emerged as one of the most competitive sectors in India and we've been very pleased to partner with companies here to make sure they have the latest in software technologies and we are working with them helping to drive their success," said Bill Gates, Chairman and Chief Architect, Microsoft Corporation.
"The progress in the last three years have been fantastic and that is part of the reason why we have been able to make such a strong increased commitment after the work we have been doing in this country," he said while making a slew of announcements reiterating the IT giants commitment to further the IT revolution in the country.
Speaking earlier at a CII organised forum on 'Realising India's Potential', Gates had outlined his vision for Microsoft in India and the areas in which the company would continue to partner with the Indian government and the industry to ensure the country's leadership in the emerging knowledge economy and consequent benefits to its citizens.
The IT company will adopt 100 schools in six states initially to provide an interactive learning environment. Microsoft will support the programme of the IT and Communications Ministry to establish 100,000 Common Service Centres by offering a range of affordable products, services, consultancy, training and support. For this, Microsoft will offer a multilingual Windows XP Starter Edition made exclusively for India.
Gates also announced setting up two innovation centres in India, one in Delhi and the other one in Bangalore. Microsoft has also signed an agreement on Security Cooperation Programme and e-governance with the Indian government.
Responding to a series of questions from Sam Pitroda at CII's 'Realising India's Potential' forun, Gates said, "India's IT prowess has a global reputation. For India to sustain economic growth it needs to leverage IT as an enabler and focus on rapidly enhancing two key areas – literacy and productivity. India will have to use IT as an enabler for a sustainable and equitable development model to realise the benefits for all of its citizens across the country."
Reacting to various announcements made by Gates, Union Minister for IT and Communications, Dayanidhi Maran said, "Well, we wish Gates would visit this country more often. I am happy that Microsoft is making substantial investments in India. We regards this as an indicator of the value that Microsoft attaches to its development and R&D activities in the country as well as its recognition of the accelerating pace of growth of the ICT sector here."