How important is India in Microsoft's overall scheme of things?
India is a very important market for Microsoft. We believe that it could be one of our top five offices in the world within a relatively short period of time. Clearly, India has already provided Microsoft with some very skilled software developers and this will continue, but our focus now is on building a strong local presence here selling software and services to our customers.
What advantages does India hold in the global software industry?
India has a significant opportunity to make an impact on the world infotech stage. Two key issues could make this possible: the quality of the workforce turned out by our educational establishments and the highly competitive labour costs.
But we account for less than 1 per cent of the world software market.
Success globally is only possible if first of all the domestic market is healthy. If the Indian software industry is competitive, energetic and enterprising, it can serve as a launch-pad for local companies who have developed successful Indian software applications. In addition, India must improve its infrastructure quickly to remain competitive in areas like access to the Internet, telecom costs and a sensible import/export structure.
To what do you attribute Microsoft's phenomenal success?
Success in the software industry is about innovation, good ideas and understanding your customer. Microsoft continues to invest a very significant amount of time and effort in pushing forward the boundaries of our industry. Microsoft never rests on its laurels. The phenomenal success of Windows in particular, with over 100 million copies sold worldwide, is testament to the fact that we are tapping into what the customer wants and we maintain a close relationship with them to ensure that this continues.
So a single-minded drive to bring the real benefits of computing to the finger-tips of all people and a long-term investment in innovation are the real secrets of our success.
Can India produce a Bill Gates?
Why not! Bill has been successful because he had the vision to spot a potential opportunity quickly and then had the drive and long term commitment to carry it through.
As we move into a new economic phase in the world's economy, the opportunities are endless. In 10 years we will all be talking about a new Bill Gates and as international barriers to economic success break down, it is my hope that this person will be a Sharma, a Singh or Kumar.