Bridging India’s digital divide

Miranda Kennedy Nov 7, 2006
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Bridging India’s digital divide

Miranda Kennedy Nov 7, 2006
HTML EMBED:
COPY

TEXT OF STORY

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.

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.