Microsoft committed to nation’s innovation agenda


By STEVEN PATRICK intech@thestar.com.my

KUALA LUMPUR: Microsoft Malaysia wants to assist in developing the country’s intellectual capital via its local ecosystem of 5,600 Malaysian vendor partners, out of which 1,200 are independent software vendors (ISV).

Ananth Lazarus, its managing director, said that he would like to see ISVs build solutions for the global market on Microsoft platforms. These ISVs will be given reduced prices to develop applications on the Microsoft ­platform.

“We are more than information and communications technology (ICT) enablers, we are economic enablers. We want ­companies to innovate through cost savings,” he said.

He explained that innovation doesn’t mean huge projects like building a big factory for airplanes.

“If a company can offer products at a fraction of the price, that is innovation. A good example of innovative company is AirAsia Bhd,” he said at a media roundtable.

He said that Microsoft is very much in tune with the nation’s innovation agenda.

According to an IDC report titled Aid to Recovery: The Economic Impact of IT, Software and the Microsoft System on the Malaysian Economy, the Microsoft Malaysia ecosystem is estimated to have generated more that RM9bil in investments last year.

This includes improving ISVs, enhancing channel partners and providing new jobs. The report stated that every ringgit invested in Microsoft, will automatically generate RM13.39 for its partners.

Ananth said that Microsoft is constantly pushing innovation through its three “Spark” programmes — BizSpark, DreamSpark (for software developers) and Website Spark.

The programmes are designed to cater to startups, technopreneurs and tertiary students.

“It’s an ongoing commitment. We have allocated RM3.5bil for the Spark programmes,” he said.

Ananth declined to indicate whether Microsoft would be increasing the budget, and would only say that “it is possible.”

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