Tue, Aug 22, 2006 - Page 12 News List

Microsoft targets double-digit growth

REGIONAL REVENUES The firm made the forecast for the greater China region and cited the rollout of its new operating system as one of the factors to drive growth

By Amber Chung  /  STAFF REPORTER

Microsoft Corp, the world's biggest software provider, expects double-digit growth in revenues in the greater China market this fiscal year, bolstered by the rollout of new products and increased cooperation with personal computer makers.

Microsoft hopes that sales for this fiscal year in the greater China area -- which includes China, Hong Kong and Taiwan -- the company's fastest-growing target market, will rise by a double-digit rate from a year ago, Microsoft's corporate vice president and chief executive officer of greater China region Timothy Chen (陳永正) told the Taipei Times yesterday, without giving specific figures.

The company's fiscal year starts on July 1 and run through June 30 the following year.

The sales target is to be supported by the rollout of a series of new products this fiscal year, which has cost the software giant US$20 billion in research and development, he said.

They include the long-awaited Vista software, the latest version of the Windows operating system, and Office 2007 software, according to the executive.

Vista for corporate customers will be launched in November and the consumer version will hit the market in January next year.

"The release is on schedule for now," Chen said when asked about any possible delay.

Vista's release has been put off several times since the initial launch was planned for 2003.

Some market watchers suspect that another postponement is possible.

Microsoft's close cooperation with contract PC makers in Taiwan, which account for more than 80 percent of global notebook shipments, will also help the firm achieve its target, said Alexander Huang (黃存義), Microsoft's regional director for the greater China region.

Taiwanese information and communications technology (ICT) companies with close ties to Microsoft include Quanta Computer Inc (廣達電腦), the world's largest notebook maker, Acer Inc, the No. 4 PC vendor globally, and High Tech Computer Corp (宏達電), the world's biggest maker of mobile phones based on the Microsoft operating system.

Microsoft and Taiwanese ICT companies are mutually dependent, Huang said.

Microsoft has put significant effort toward investing in and building up relations with these business partners to show its commitment to Taiwan, where the ICT industry contributes one-third of GDP, he added.

Microsoft is holding a three-day "Regional Kickoff Meeting" in Taipei, starting today, with 850 managers from the Asia-Pacific region participating, including 379 Chinese employees.

The event marks a milestone in cross-strait relations, as the government for the first time permitted the entry of a record number of visitors from China.

Current regulations limit each group visiting from China to no more than 30 people.

"We are glad to hold the meeting in Taiwan this year to discuss marketing strategy, product development and sales targets," Chen said.

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