18_Bill Gates

Microsoft

Return of the Raj

For the Indian middle class, Bill Gates ranks up there with Lord Ganesh. And given Gates's recent proclamation that Microsoft will invest another $1.7 billion in India over the next four years--creating another 3,000 new jobs, for a total of 7,000--that's hardly a surprise. Throw in a new Bangalore development center, an Indian version of Windows (available in nine local languages), and a nationwide talent hunt to find Bill's Indian analog, and it's clear Gates is betting no small part of his future on the world's biggest democracy.

  • By 2009, Gartner predicts that IT spending in India will rise 20.8% via investments in hardware, software, and telecom products and services.

  • The National Academy of Sciences says India graduated 200,000 engineers in 2004, versus 70,000 in the States.

  • In October, Cisco announced plans to invest $1.1 billion in India over the next three years.

  • In December, Intel announced plans to invest $1 billion in R&D and VC funding in India over the next five years.

  • IBM currently has 38,500 workers in India.

  • Fine, but by 2010, Gartner says open source is expected to account for 20% of the global software market, costing traditional software makers some $100 billion in revenues.

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