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Microsoft continues support for Russia market

Posted: 28 May 2009 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Microsoft Russia investment? software? IT industry?

Despite the global economic downturn, Microsoft Corp.'s perspective on Russia has not shifted. It remains a strategically important market. The Russian government is to be applauded for its steps to minimize the effects of the crisis, and for focusing on long-term measures that recognize IT and innovation as key factors. Microsoft, for its part, will continue to invest in Russia and is committed to supporting sustainable economic growth and social development, in line with government priorities.

For Microsoft, partnership has always been the key to mutual success. We are therefore making a $300 million, three-year investment in Russia that includes short-term measures as well as long-term strategic programs.

In the short term, Microsoft is directly supporting entrepreneurship in Russia, fostering local innovation and creating jobs. 1,000 innovative startup businesses will receive software licenses for Microsoft products free of charge from 2009 through 2012. Each package includes software for both back-office infrastructure and up to 10 workstations for information workers or developers. The recipients will be selected by the Russian governmental foundation FASIE (Foundation-for-Assistance-to-Small-Innovative-Enterprises).

Microsoft is also committed to improving e-skills across society and industry. To increase employability and bridge the digital divide, 300,000 people will be trained in e-skills to strengthen their job standing, to find better work and to truly engage in the information economy. To accomplish this, 60 IDEA community technology skills training centers across 43 Russian regions will be used.

The company Microsoft plans to bring the number of computer literacy centers to over 100 centers, extending the program to cover every region of Russian Federation.

Microsoft will also play an active role in a countrywide, IT-industry initiative to provide government-certified training to IT students and professionals in cooperation with leading Russian universities. There are already around 200 Microsoft IT Academies in higher-education institutions in Russia. Advanced IT professional skills that students learn in these IT Academies offer valuable preparation for the job market.

Longer-term initiatives span the IT industry, society, and scientific research.

They include expanding a wide variety of existing programs, to help promote the benefits of technology in high school and higher education. We are also looking into options in other strategic areas as healthcare and the 2014 winter Olympic Games in Sochi.

To foster innovation in education, Microsoft operates 10 Microsoft Innovation Centers across Russia, in Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Tomsk, Kazan, Yekaterinburg and Kaliningrad. Five of these facilities, which are run in partnership with leading technical universities, were opened in the past six months. One more will be opened this year.

Microsoft Innovation Centers lay the foundation for future software development, offering training and resources based on the latest innovative technologies.

Every university student in Russia, regardless of their chosen major, can obtain a free license of Microsoft DreamSpark for Web and Windows-based development. Now DreamSpark is available also for high school students in Russia.

The Microsoft ecosystem of partners and developers is a proven driver of growth in the Russian economy, generating considerable social and economic benefits. Microsoft has more than 7,500 partners that are revolutionizing communication and driving the success of their business customers. As a resource for developing world-class, end-to-end solutions for business customers with Russian partners, Microsoft will open a Microsoft Technology Center this year. The first of its kind in Eastern Europe, the 1,000-square meter center, equipped with the latest technologies, will allow business customers to access and test enterprise products, services and tailor-made solutions that only Microsoft partners can deliver.

Currently, the company is entering a new arena with the Microsoft Russia Technology Initiative in Research. Microsoft Research and the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Science have announced the establishment of a joint research centerthe first of its kind focused on environmental science.

Far from pulling back during a time of economic crisis, Microsoft is committed to Russia's growth. We plan to deepen our long-standing commitment to work in partnership with the Russian government, Russian educational institutions, and Russian companies on issues related to opportunity and growth in the country. We view Russia not only as a market of great strategic importance, but also as an important center for future innovation, entrepreneurship, and economic growth. It is this spirit of partnership, backed by real investment that will pay dividends and ensure a more prosperous future for everyone.

- Nikolay Pryanishnikov
President, Microsoft Russia

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