Thursday, 6 November 2008

Indian IT cos will continue to grow business: Gates

Software for students: The Co-Chairperson of Gates Foundation, Mr Bill Gates, during the launch of DreamSpark - a software giveaway for an estimated 10 million-plus qualified students in the country, at IIT Delhi, in the Capital on Wednesday

Lauding Indian IT industry for building an “incredible reputation”, the Microsoft Founder and the second richest man in the world, Mr Bill Gates, said on Wednesday that while Indian IT companies would be impacted by the global economy, they will continue to grow business.

“In terms of IT companies in India that do global projects, they have done fantastic work. They have been great partners of Microsoft…,” Mr Gates said addressing students of the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi.

He said the world continued to see a shortage of skills in IT services. To a specific query on the extent of the financial crisis in the US, Mr Gates said that although there would be an economic recession in the US, it may not get extended to too many other countries. “I think in some ways the markets have overreacted,” he pointed out.

Admitting that current imbalances could create some weakness, he said, “I cannot predict whether it would be 3-4 years but it is going to be more than six months…then economy will be back on track.”

Microsoft takes a 5-10 year view and is certainly not cutting back on research, he said after unveiling DreamSpark – a software giveaway for an estimated over 10 million students in India. DreamSpark would provide students access to Microsoft developer and designer tools free of cost, with a view to unlocking their potential.

Mr Gates’ ongoing visit to India has been relatively low key. Earlier in the day, the 53-year-old Mr Gates said that he had full faith in Indian pharmaceutical companies and that his foundation would continue to do business with them.

“The science of Indian pharmaceuticals is quite strong. We will continue our involvement with them. The cheap drugs (sourced from India) are benefiting many countries,” he said. This assumes significance in the light of concerns raised by the US FDA on some drugs manufactured by Indian companies, including Ranbaxy and Sun Pharma. “We have association with many companies like Ranbaxy and Dr. Reddy’s Lab,” Mr Gates said.

Meets PM

He also met the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, and discussed areas of support between the Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The Foundation has been providing grants for public health activities, notably in the areas of HIV/AIDS prevention and communication.

Mr Gates’ agenda includes discussion on several healthcare issues with a focus on polio eradication. The foundation has so far committed more than $400 million worldwide to support polio eradication efforts with India among its recipients.

Source: TheHinduBusinessLine

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