Saturday, June 03, 2006

Microsoft in India

location based services

But a presence in India may be especially important for Microsoft. Not only does the company hope to put its Windows and Office software on a larger share of computers in India -- where desktop PC sales grew more than 20 percent between March 2005 and March 2006 -- but it sees the country's billion-plus population as a market for future Microsoft products, such as educational software specialized for schools in poor, rural communities.
Last week, MSR India's assistant managing director, Kentaro Toyama, was in Berkeley, CA, coordinating an international conference on information and communications technology for developing economies. Technology Review Senior Editor Wade Roush caught up with him there.
Technology Review: Why is it important to Microsoft to have a software lab in India?
Kentaro Toyama: India provides a unique environment for certain kinds of research. It has a booming IT economy while at the same time having a large percentage of the population still in poverty. So there are certain kinds of research that would be difficult to do in the United States that we can do there, particularly with respect to the role of computing in poor communities. And there is a well-educated base of computer scientists and engineers, including a returning diaspora, if you will, of Indians who have worked overseas.
TR: What kinds of research are you starting with?
KT: The six research areas we're currently focusing on are photography; digital geographies, which includes any kind of digital map or location-based services and software; multilingual systems, including speech recognition, natural language processing, and building systems that interact across different languages; hardware for communications, including distributed sensor networks; software engineering, which looks at creating tools that make software development easier; and emerging markets, or how computing will impact social and economic development......Posted by Rene at juin 2, 2006 07:42 PM

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