Bill Gates: Technology investments will make India an economic and software superpower

Mumbai, 5, March, 1997 — On the occasion of his first ever visit, Mr Bill Gates, Chairman & CEO of Microsoft Corporation, called on India to harness the power and potential of personal computers to lead the country into the twenty first century. In a series of meetings in New Delhi and Mumbai with business leaders, opinion leaders, educators, personal computer users, media and policy makers, Mr Gates outlined a number of imperatives that will enable India to make the necessary transition to the global networked economy.

“To be a leader in the digital economy of the twenty first century, India must invest in basic infrastructure, education and information technology,”
said Mr Gates.
“These are the tools which will drive the country into the future and make India an economic and software superpower.”

“The country’s advantages are many. India has an excellent university system. Its computer scientists are among the leaders of companies worldwide. Its technology centres in Bangalore, Pune and other places are well respected,”
Mr Gates continued.
“India has what it takes to participate in, even to shape, the future if it makes the necessary investments now. It must build a national telecommunications infrastructure, develop a robust domestic software industry, provide Internet connectivity for the consumer and continue to invest in education.”

Sanjay Parthasarathy, Regional Director, Indian Subcontinent Region, Microsoft Corporation, said
“Microsoft is investing in the Indian IT industry as a whole, transferring skills, intellectual assets and a new business model to a country which we believe can have a tremendous impact on the world IT market. We are working with a whole range of partners such as hardware companies, software developers, schools, colleges and policy makers to help build a world class IT infrastructure in India.”

Mr Gates delivered speeches to several forums in New Delhi and Mumbai during the course of his visit.

[Note to editors: Transcripts of selected speeches made by Mr Gates will be available within two days following the event. Media Alerts are also available for each of the events. For all press information contact the Microsoft India Press Office at Text 100, details shown below.]

New Delhi, 4
th
March 1997:

Press conference: The Future is Now!

Mr Gates addressed a press conference in the capital at which he outlined the steps India needs to take now in order to participate in the global networked world. Mr Gates spoke about the need for India to make the right investments in education, technology infrastructure and the Internet to make India a world software leader, and explained why India is one of the top three countries in the world for Microsoft’s investments in 1996-1997. He also outlined Microsoft’s product strategy explaining how the company has the best and most integrated software for desktop PCs, the Internet and corporate networks.

Education Event: Investing in the Future, Now!

Education was the theme of this event co-hosted with the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi. Mr Gates discussed the importance of education as the engine of growth for the Indian IT industry and also highlighted the benefits of using computer technology for improving the quality and delivery of education at all levels. He outlined world-wide trends in the IT business, how education is core to the industry’s success and described what Microsoft is doing in India in four education segments: university level computer science education, training for IT professionals, computer education in schools and career-oriented education.

Mr Gates demonstrated the company’s commitment to education by launching Microsoft India’s ‘University Advanced Technology Labs Programme’ (UATL) at five Universities. The UATL at each of the institutions will include the establishment of an Advanced Technology Lab for research and projects, access to Microsoft® Windows NT® source code to the Universities for research purposes, establishment of an instruction development center and an on-line training resource centre. Mr Gates said that Microsoft’s investment in the UATL programme would have a market value of up to INR 35 million over a three year period.

Stressing that India can be the largest source of trained manpower for the global IT industry, Mr Gates made an award to the 1000 th Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) in India.

He also awarded prizes to the eight winners of ‘Microsoft Imagine the Magic’ contest. The contest, run in association with Compaq, Living Media and United Airlines, sought to uncover the most creative and imaginative minds in India by asking children aged 8 to 18 what the most amazing computer could do. The contest focused on the power of the computer to help people create new things – new businesses, new products, new ideas, new ways for people to work together.
“Unleashing creativity at all levels will be the mark of the future use of computers,”
said Mr Gates. The winners, chosen from over 40,000 entries, displayed a tremendous level of creativity, energy and vision.

Confederation of Indian Industry Address

In an address to over one thousand business leaders and policy makers at a meeting of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Mr Gates highlighted two ways in which information technology in India can increase employment and boost economic growth: by increased organisational efficiency and by building a successful domestic IT industry.

Mr Gates stressed that information technology is a basic infrastructure.
“It is as important to a country’s development in the Information Age as electricity has been in the twentieth century. Properly deployed, IT increases jobs and helps the economy grow. In the US, the fastest growing industry, and the greatest job creator, for the last ten years has been in the computer industry. Businesses in other industries that have adopted advanced technologies, along with solid training, have seen productivity improvements and a greater ability to compete.”

Computer technology, and now Internet technology, allows businesses to compete effectively anywhere in the world, as India’s software industry is already beginning to show. IT reduces costs and lowers barriers to entry into markets. He said that organisations around the world deploying advanced technology are more able to compete and win in local and global marketplaces. This grows businesses and produces jobs.

Mr Gates called on CII to take the lead in connecting up its offices worldwide and encouraged the its members to connect to the CII network. Mr Gates also called for the establishment of a group within the organisation to focus on IT issues and drive the establishment of an IT Excellence Centre and create programs to increase awareness of the effective use of IT in Indian companies.

Mr Gates stressed that India needs to invest in and protect intellectual property if it is to develop a strong local packaged software industry, by ensuring that local software developers get enough return on investment to continue to grow.

Mumbai, 5
th
March 1997:

Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Address: Social Impact of Computing

Addressing the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan (BVB) at the Tata Memorial Hall in Mumbai, Mr Gates, in the audience of the Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda, business leaders and senior government officials, described the positive role that computer technology can play in society.

During his speech, Mr Gates spoke about the ways in which IT has made a positive impact on the basic quality of life and how computers can add to the fabric of society. Mr Gates said that the Internet and the personal computer are tools which can be used to bring a wide variety of information, on subjects ranging from advanced farming techniques, to precise weather patterns, to improved medical information enabling healthcare for the masses.
“Far from alienating people, computer technology is becoming an efficient mechanism for bringing communities around the world closer together by allowing people to share intellectual resources,”
Mr Gates added.

He stressed that from the standpoint of social services, IT makes it possible to provide services more quickly and easily and at lower cost. It allows the same number of people to provide more services. This is important to government, since most public institutions worldwide are expected to deliver more services. And governments will be among the leaders in deploying Internet-based solutions to provide better
“customer”
(citizen) services. This was a prime topic at the recent World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, attended by India’s Prime Minister as well as 100 other top leaders in the world.

Mr Gates said that private industry and government both have a role to play in ensuring that the social benefits of personal computers reach the most needy sections of society and urged industry to take the lead in ensuring that IT can be used to create new jobs and enable the unemployed to get these new jobs.

He announced that Microsoft will contribute software valued at INR 5 million to BVB for its computer education and training centers . Microsoft’s donation to the BVB computer education centre is intended to enhance the success of BVB’s already successful efforts to equip unemployed people with the skills needed to find jobs.

Industry Leadership Summit

Mr Gates made the keynote address at the Industry Leadership Summit co-hosted with NASSCOM (National Association of Software and Service Companies). The summit addressed issues facing India’s estimated 160,000 software developers. During his speech, Mr Gates described the technology changes that will impact Indian software developers over the coming years, stressed the importance of the Internet, and suggested a course of action for software companies to compete and win on the world stage.

He Gates showed how the Microsoft® Windows® platform has evolved over the years and will remain the best and most versatile platform for developers building applications for the PC, networks, multimedia and the Internet.

Mr Gates issued a call to action to the Indian software industry: make the transition from project oriented development to packaged products; develop applications for the local market and local needs; invest in research and development (R & D) and developing Intellectual Property; use the Internet to market globally; and prepare for intense competition.

RAMCO Marshall 3.0 launch

Mr Gates addressed a press conference to mark the launch of the RAMCO Marshall 3.0 application. Marshall, a business computing applications suite built around the Microsoft® Windows NT
™Server operating system and Microsoft® SQL
™
Server database, is a client server system which can be used to build solutions for functional areas of a business such as accounting, sales, inventory and production.

Mr Gates pointed out that RAMCO is a prime example of Microsoft’s business model with software developers, based on building strong relationships with local partners. He stated that strengthening partnerships, in particular, helping Indian companies such as RAMCO to build world class software applications, is a key strategy for Microsoft in India.

The Enterprise Tomorrow, Today

This forum, co-hosted with Microland, examined the computing issues facing large organisations and was attended by Chief Information Officers and Chief Executives of Indian organisations. Mr Gates spoke about a number of trends in corporate computing and how Microsoft’s vision has allowed the company to stay ahead of the competition.

Mr Gates explained the concept of the ‘PC Success Loop’ where the reduction in prices of personal computers leads to volume sales which in turn promotes software development and innovation, further driving prices down and functionality upwards. The same ‘Success Loop’ is now happening at the server level, due to innovative software such as Microsoft® Windows NT® and Microsoft® BackOffice
™
and dramatic improvements in hardware from companies like Compaq and Intel.

Mr Gates said two focus areas for Microsoft are the Intranet and reducing the cost of ownership of IT systems for corporate users. Mr Gates talked about how the Microsoft® Windows NT® Server network operating system has emerged as the world’s best-selling server operating system. With its ease of use, ability to run server applications and its built-in Web server, Internet Information Server (IIS), Windows NT Server is the leading platform for Intranets and the Internet.

Microsoft Corporation India Private Ltd is a subsidiary of Microsoft Corporation USA. It has had a presence in India since 1987 and currently has offices in New Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ
“MSFT”
) is the world-wide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

For further press information please contact :

Microsoft India Press Office

Text 100 India

Tel: 011 336 6880, 011 336 7080, 011 336 7088

Email: textind@giasdl01.vsnl.net.in

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