Microsoft sees big promise in Pakistan
KARACHI- World software giant Microsoft Corporation is here in Pakistan because it sees great promise the growth and development of information technology here, according to Microsoft Gulf and Eastern Mediterranean Community Development Manager Simon Ransom.
At the end of his two-day visit in connection with a series of seminars being held in Karachi and Islamabad under Microsoft Open-Door agenda, Simon Ransom said, “Our first series of seminars was held here last year, and we got tremendous response. So we decided to bring the Open Door to Pakistan more often. It has been the longest running and largest seminar programme in the Middle East and the Eastern Mediterranean region for several years now and has helped many businesses around the region build cutting edge Information Technology (IT) solutions as well as make better informed IT investment decisions.”
Simon said, “However, as Open-Door was becoming a very technical affair, we turned it into two events: ‘Microsoft Business Forum’ that is dedicated to bring similar minded business people together; and ‘Microsoft for Partners Sessions’ which are hands-on work-shops that help you learn how to sell more products, expand your services, and increase the level of customer satisfaction. Both the events will run side by side, Open-Door remaining a technical affair.”
He said, “We touch 15,000 people, all IT professionals, each year through our Open-Door programme. It is a community event though it may not be a public event. We had invited even the students in large numbers. In fact, it is meant to educate the community.”
Commenting on the standard of know-how about IT among the young folk in Pakistan, he said, “This is my first visit to Pakistan and I see that there is quite a lot of development in the IT sector. The intelligence and knowledge of the participating students pleasantly surprised my colleagues. It was a great experience.”
He added, “Unfortunately, lots of the young participants wanted to know if there were job opportunities for them abroad. I asked them why they looked towards foreign jobs. Soon there are going to be a lot of job opportunities in Pakistan. We are not here to provide new jobs. Microsoft is here to provide the IT platform. In fact, Microsoft Open-Door programme has provided a platform of latest technologies.
Internet is just a phone call away. Events are happening all over the world. Opportunities are there for you to discover and explore.”
In view of the participants’ enormous response, Microsoft Gulf and Eastern Mediterranean (GEM) Community Development Manager Simon Ransom has plans to make the Microsoft Road show a twice-in-a-year event in Pakistan.
Mentioning software piracy, Simon said, “Many countries have successfully handled the piracy issue and reaped its benefits. Jordan, for instance, has progressed in leaps and bounds, and now we are building IT industries there, because King Abdullah has been keen on eliminating piracy. Lebano on the contrary, has lagged behind as they are still unable to control piracy.”
When his attention was drawn to the high price of the Microsoft software, he said, “To students and educational institutions, we are providing software at a very high discount as much as 85-90 per cent! We are not after the home user. It is the government departments and the corporate user who need to understand that it is not in their interest to use pirated software. ”
Replying to a question, he said, “We are interested in Pakistan because we know that this country has vast growth potential. We are investing in Pakistan. It’s a grassroots effect that we want to bring about in Pakistan. Without curbing software piracy, one cannot talk of setting up e-government. Take the example of UAE where you can get a visa within hours on the Internet; that is how you experience the benefits of e-government.”