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Microsoft strengthens position in Greece February 4, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Business & Economy, Internet & Web.
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Greece signed an agreement with the world’s biggest software company, Microsoft, on Monday last week to establish IT development centers in an effort to boost the country’s competitiveness.

The agreement, signed by Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates and Greece’s Finance Minister calls for the creation of centers to provide IT and business development skills.

“From being a laggard, Greece in a short amount of time is dynamically becoming a leader in the use of new technologies,” Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis said at the signing ceremony. “Investment in advanced technology … is a prerequisite for a break with the past, which is something the country needs, and for it to be a knowledge leader.

Software related employment is about 30 percent of all IT employment in Greece and accounts for about 100,000 jobs. Total government and private sector IT spending is about 2 billion euros and is seen growing about 7 percent annually through to 2011, according to IT research group IDC.

Greece’s internet penetration has risen from 0.1 percent in 2004 to about 10 percent of the population currently but the country is still at the bottom of the class when compared to its European peers. Making Greece’s bureaucracy more user-friendly is also one of the long-term goals behind the centers.

“I am pleased to see the commitment with our partners in Greece. It is this type of innovation, partnerships with universities and close relationships with the government that can help drive things,” Gates said.

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