A senior Microsoft executive praised Saudi efforts in combating software piracy and described the Kingdom as one of ‘the fastest growing markets in the entire world’, just a few days prior to the official launch of the latest installment of the company’s flagship operating system, Windows 8.
Whilst visiting Khobar, Saudi Arabia to introduce key partners and clients to his company’s new strategic vision; Microsoft’s Chief Operating Officer, Kevin Turner, spoke exclusively to Al Arabiya about this new vision.
“The original aspiration that Bill [Gates] had for the company was that he wanted a company that could help enable the PC on every desk and in every home. The new vision and aspiration that we have for Microsoft is we want to help enable a continuous cloud service for every person and every device and every business. And really transition from a software company to one of that’s devices and service.”
“When you step back and look at the Microsoft company today in a very tight windows of about six to eight months; we are basically re-imagining, re-launching, and putting back into market,” Turner added.
When asked about the strategic importance of the Saudi market, Turner responded by saying that the “Saudi Arabia and the Middle East has been one of the fastest growing in the entire world for Microsoft for a long long time. We have had very successful businesses here. Thanks in part to the partnerships that we have with our customers and the wonderful partners that we have in markets. We see this market as a tremendous opportunity for us.”
Turner went on to praise the efforts conducted to combat software piracy in Saudi Arabia:
“We got a great partnership with the [Saudi] government. We’ve been working closely with them to be able to lower the piracy rate around. It is something that we have to continue to work on”, he said.
As for Corporate Social Responsibility, Turner explained that Microsoft has several regional initiatives, among them are ‘Dream Spark’ where the company gives away its entire software portfolio to students and ‘Biz Spark’ where Microsoft actually launches with start-ups and gives away software stacks until they (the start-ups) reach a certain size of success.
Windows 8 officially launches in Saudi Arabia on November 18th and it is to be followed by Windows Phone 8, which will be backed by a fully supported Arabic interface.
* Faisal J. Abbas is the Editor-in-Chief of Al Arabiya English.