Thu, Nov 05, 2009 - Page 12 News List

Microsoft inks cloud computing deals

CLEAR SKIES Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer inked pacts with the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Chunghwa Telecom and HTC Corp during a whirlwind visit to Taipei

By Jason Tan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer of Microsoft Corp, speaks at a forum on cloud computing at the Grand Hyatt Taipei yesterday morning. Microsoft and the Ministry of Economic Affairs signed a pact yesterday to set up a cloud computer center in Taiwan.

PHOTO: CHRIS TZOU, BLOOMBERG

Microsoft Corp signed memorandums of understanding with the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) and Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信) yesterday to facilitate cloud computing in Taiwan.

The company and the ministry will open a Software and Services Excellence Center by the end of the year to help Taiwanese electronics makers develop devices and services for cloud computing — an emerging technology which enables users to access data saved in remote servers through telephones or computers.

“Cloud computing allows enterprises to lower costs and upfront capital. It increases their agility,” Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said on the eve of the 20th anniversary of his company’s local operations.

The company expects to engage more deeply and actively with the local technology community through the center, he said.

Microsoft’s pact with Chunghwa Telecom will allow the country’s largest telecom operator to employ Microsoft’s cloud computing platform in offering related services to small and medium-sized businesses.

Microsoft will also seek partnerships on cloud computing with financial institutions and hardware companies, said Simon Leung (梁念堅), chairman and CEO of Microsoft’s Greater China region.

Ballmer hosted a Microsoft forum yesterday morning on the topic of “Three Screens and a Cloud,” a concept that envisions connecting PCs, handsets and TVs to the Internet and offers tremendous opportunities for cloud computing business. In the afternoon, he attended press conferences announcing tie-ups with Chunghwa Telecom and HTC Corp (宏達電).

Ballmer, who arrived on Tuesday and left yesterday, also made time to meet representatives from his company’s local tech partners, including Acer Inc (宏碁), Asustek Computer Inc (華碩), Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密), Kinpo Group (金仁寶集團) and AU Optronics Corp (友達光電).

In a brief question-and-answer session with media, Ballmer appeared unconcerned that some of these partners are also offering products using Google Inc and Apple Inc’s solutions.

“We actually make products that are popular, that’s the key for ongoing partnership,” Ballmer said. “The partnerships thrive while we make money together.”

He also said the launch of the new Windows 7 operating system late last month has created great consumer momentum.

“Overall response to Windows 7 has been positive. It is simpler, faster, more responsive,” he said.

Also See: Windows 7’s hidden gems

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