Despite the India investment, the company is still adding more U.S. jobs overall, mostly at its Redmond headquarters, a spokesman said.

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Tech workers in the U.S. may fear their future lies in India, after hearing that Bill Gates was in New Delhi on Wednesday announcing plans for 3,000 new Microsoft jobs on the subcontinent.


But the company is still adding more jobs overall in the U.S. and mostly at its Redmond headquarters, a spokesman said afterward.


Some of the new Indian jobs may also be in retail outlets Microsoft is opening across that country to better distribute its products.


“We’ve said before that the majority of our core development work will remain right here in Redmond and that’s still the case,” spokesman Lou Gellos said.


In today’s global economy, it’s routine for visiting executives to highlight the scale of local investments. Microsoft has made similar commitments to China, for instance, where it’s outsourcing 1,000 jobs a year to meet the government’s expectations.


Lately tech companies have showered such announcements on India, but Gates trumped them all by promising to invest $1.7 billion and create 3,000 jobs at a Wednesday news conference in New Delhi.


That’s nearly double the $1 billion that Intel on Monday pledged to invest in India over five years. It also exceeds the $1.1 billion that Cisco Systems promised when its chief executive visited in October.



Super Geek


Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates has rock-star status in India, and now he has a theme song there as well. As part of the marketing blitz around a Bangalore event where he is launching Microsoft’s new programming toolkit, the company distributed a song that pays homage to Indian programmers.


“Superhero — The Developer’s Song” was recorded by artist Nigel Z at Studio Butter in New Delhi. It’s offered at Microsoft’s India Web site at www.microsoft.com/india/ready2005/song.



Listen to “Superhero” (MP3 format – 2.61 MB).


“Superhero” describes the day of a brainy programmer who gives up lunch and a dinner date with his girlfriend to keep working on his code. Here’s an excerpt:


“He’s no less than a superhero,


Can’t make him fall,


Ones and zeroes, threes and fours,


But not that bad a guy after all.


Afternoon comes when everyone eats,


Staring down at lines on his LCD screen,


Cracking up the code,


Faster than the speed of light.


Evening bells ringing,


Had to meet his date,


Digits on his hand,


Will have to make her wait.


Smiles at his phone,


Then tosses it aside.”


Brier Dudley


Gates’ announcement publicly discloses plans Microsoft has had for some time to expand in India, according to S. Somasegar, the vice president in charge of the company’s development center in Hyderabad. He said the totals reflect a number of different India projects, including efforts to build India’s tech industry through training and partnerships, as well as direct employment at Microsoft facilities.


“Every time Bill goes there or Steve [Ballmer] goes there, there’s always the expectation, people are excited to know, what is the outlook for the local country in terms of incremental investment over the next few years,” Somasegar said. “This is packaging that up in a way that we can articulate externally.”


He estimated that 30 to 40 percent of the new jobs will be in product development. Others include positions in sales and product support.


Microsoft employment is growing faster in India than in the U.S. — about 19 percent next year, compared with 4 percent in the U.S. — but Somasegar and Gellos said the company is still adding more jobs overall here.


On a yearly basis, Microsoft is creating 750 new jobs per year over the next four years in India. Meanwhile, it is creating 1,600 to 2,000 new jobs in the U.S. this year. About 80 percent of the new U.S. jobs — roughly 1,300 to 1,600 positions — will be at the company’s Redmond headquarters, according to Gellos. Globally, it expects to add 5,000 new jobs during its 2006 fiscal year ending June 30.


Microsoft’s plans to rebuild and expand much of its Redmond campus over the next 20 years won’t be affected by the expansion in India, Gellos said. But the overseas emphasis helps explain why the company has done little with land it bought in Issaquah for a second major campus.


Gates made the announcement during a weeklong trip that includes meetings with India’s top government officials.


Microsoft is also using Gates’ superstar status to court Indian software developers. He’s the highlight of a glitzy event Friday in Bangalore to promote the company’s new Visual Studio programming toolkit.


Microsoft has been selling software in India since 1990 and developing products in Hyderabad since 1998. It began rapidly expanding in 2002, after Gates announced the company was developing a standalone campus in Hyderabad.


A year ago Chief Executive Steve Ballmer visited the country and pledged to double the size of the India Development Center in Hyderabad to 3,200 employees. Microsoft now has about 2,700 employees, plus contractors and vendors, mostly at Hyderabad and in Bangalore at a product-support center and a new advanced-research center.


Many of the new jobs could be in sales. The company is adding 33 new sales centers and, in a new venture for the company, creating 700 retail outlets. Somasegar said the company is still trying to decide whether to staff the stores or have them operated by partner companies.


The retail stores are a new approach for a company that traditionally has relied on other companies to sell its products. They’ll fill a void in India, which has a growing middle class with an appetite for technology but lacks a strong network of major retail outlets where consumers can learn about and purchase software and other Microsoft products.


Brier Dudley: 206-515-5687 or bdudley@seattletimes.com