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Bridging India’s digital divide

Miranda Kennedy Nov 7, 2006
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Bridging India’s digital divide

Miranda Kennedy Nov 7, 2006
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SCOTT JAGOW: The CEO of Microsoft traveled to India today. It’s Steve Ballmer’s first trip there in two years. This is a big deal in a country where Bill Gates is considered a national hero. Miranda Kennedy reports from New Delhi.


MIRANDA KENNEDY: Microsoft’s business in India is one of its fastest-growing in the world, thanks to the country’s vast pool of low-cost software developers.

But the company has decided not to ignore another segment of the Indian population: its hundreds of millions of poor. So during his visit Ballmer will focus on bridging India’s digital divide.

Microsoft India chairman Ravi Venkatesan says helping educate the poor isn’t just corporate social responsibility. It actually has legs as a business model.

RAVI VENKATESAN: Over the long haul, this is really going to drive growth. If you think about today 300 million people using computers of one sort or the other, whether its a PC or a cellphone. Over time it’s clearly good if 500, 700, 800 million people are accessing information.

In the last three years Microsoft has shown 5 million underprivileged kids in India how to use computers. If enough of them stay tech-savvy, they’ll become a whole new set of customers in country of a billion people.

In New Delhi, I’m Miranda Kennedy for Marketplace.

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