No plans to open Zim office: Microsoft

HARARE - Global software giant Microsoft Corporation (Microsoft) says it has no plans to open an office in Zimbabwe, but will partner locals.

Hani Shakeel, Microsoft’s regional product manager for the Middle East and Africa, told Business Live that the company was “happy with the present arrangement, which empowers local firms”.

“We do have people here on the ground in Zimbabwe and other people who regularly visit the country and then we have people, like myself, from regional headquarters that provide high level support to the market — that is going to continue,” he said in an exclusive interview.

“For most small customers here, their point of interaction is our local partners that we keep trained on the latest technology so that they can help us reach our small and medium customers in Zimbabwe,” said

Shakeel added that the southern African nation has vast opportunities for start-up firms.

“There is tremendous opportunity in the Zimbabwe market,” the information and communication technologies (ICT) expert said.

“So far my time here has been spent visiting some of our large enterprise customers and I have found them to be quite forward thinking,” he said.

Last year, Microsoft unveiled Office 365, which brought affordable cutting edge technology to Zimbabwe’s small to medium enterprises.

Office 365 comprises four key components; Microsoft Office, email, communication and collaboration tools — the newest cloud service.

The software group, which has been servicing Africa since 1992 and now has about 750 employees and 11 000 channel partners, has in the past few months been pushing to grow its market on the continent.

It says Africa offers huge growth opportunities and is a “game changer in the global economy.”

The company’s investment has grown steadily, with a particular focus in the education sector, as well as financial services, and oil and gas businesses.

Similarly, other tech companies such as IBM, Google, Intel and Hewlett-Packard among others have, in recent years, also expanded their presence in Africa.

 

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