Microsoft Israel VP: We've spent $200m on R&D here

The company plans to invest hundreds of millions of dollars on R&D in security, telecommunications and support.

Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) launched an aggressive employee recruitment campaign ten days ago. The company plans to hire 150 people, most of them R&D specialists. Microsoft corporate VP Israel Research & Development Moshe Lichtman said that last year the company doubled the manpower at its R&D centers in Israel (from 200 to 400 people), largely as a result of the three companies it recently acquired (Whale Communications, Gteko, and Secure Dimensions). He claimed that the company spent $200 million on the new R&D activity last year, a statement that provides an official basis for the estimates relating to the sizes of the acquisitions (Whale Communications was reportedly acquired for $76 million, Gteko for $120 million, and Secured Dimensions for a few million dollars). "Microsoft plans to spend several hundred million more over the coming years," he added.

"Our vision was to be the jewel in the crown of the Israeli software industry. That is a very ambitious vision, and I feel that it is slowly being realized, in terms of both activity and the people who are coming here. The caliber of our employee intake is very high," said Lichtman.

Microsoft is focusing its new R&D activity on three key areas: security - which is based on Whale, and which will be managed by Avi Nathan; telecommunications products, which will be managed by Avner Mor, and support - which is based on Gteko and will be headed by the company's CEO Dr. Joshua Glazer. The company's Israeli R&D activity will be classed under "incubation", the term used by Microsoft to describe its start-up activity.

Of the three areas of activity, telecommunications is the one that will probably be the most interesting, with Microsoft planning to supply infrastructures to telecommunications service providers, for increasing added value from customers in the era of IP-based services. Mor, the manager leading the company's telecommunications' activity, declined to say exactly what sort of activity was in the offing, although he did confirm that Microsoft would launch the first version of a product in this field by the end of 2007.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes.co.il - on May 3, 2007

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2007

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