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Microsoft Announces Continued Investment in European Research and Development


European Search Technology Centre will be focused on developing a world-class search offering.

PARIS.— Microsoft Corp CEO Steve Ballmer continued his five-city European trip today with additional announcements of plans to step up investment and recruitment in the region. Following an earlier announcement in Norway, creating jobs focused on innovation in enterprise search, Microsoft today announced further details on the plan to open a new European Search Technology Centre (STC).

The centre will have three centres of excellence, Paris, London and Munich, and be a key asset to the other company research and development related facilities already operating in Europe. The aim is to tap into local expertise and fuel local innovation with job opportunities that will help reinvent the European consumer online and search experience. By increasing its existing investments and tapping into the best and brightest engineers in Europe, Microsoft expects to foster growth and innovation for both the partner community and the European knowledge economy.

The Search Technology Centre announced today will join the line-up of more than 40 research and development and Microsoft Innovation Centres, including Microsoft’s international research lab in Cambridge, UK; the development centres in Dublin, Ireland; Copenhagen, Denmark; and Oslo, Norway; and the company’s 2,000 researchers and engineers already in Europe.

The Search Technology Centre will be led by Jordi Ribas, who joins today as general manager, from the Microsoft Connected TV business group where he was general manager.

Today’s announcement follows other recent regional search investments including the purchases of UK-based local search and mapping specialist Multimap, German-based price comparison site Ciao and Norwegian enterprise search technology company FAST. Microsoft’s online services in Europe will be further supported by the completion of the $500 million European Data Centre in Dublin.

Speaking at an event in Paris, Ballmer said, “To compete in a global, innovation-driven economy, we need to draw on the world’s smartest, most creative minds. Increasingly, we are finding the talent we need here in Europe. To tap into that talent, we’ve invested in research and development across the region and today, Europe is second only to the United States in the number of engineers and researchers we have working on creating innovative products and services.

“The Search Technology Centre is an important step forward in our long-term strategy to invest in local development of search technology in Europe. We believe search is still in its infancy. Developers at the Search Technology Centre will play a key role in helping us redefine search as they create new search products and services for consumers and advertisers here in Europe and around the world.”

"Microsoft’s decision to create an important R&D centre dedicated to search in Europe, with a strong presence in France, is a first which we salute,” said Christine Lagarde, Minister of Finance, France. “This is good news for the European Union, which decided long ago, with the Lisbon strategy, to go down the road of the knowledge-based economy.”

The opening of the European Search Technology Centre is complemented by other investments Microsoft is making in Europe across research and development, online services and in the advertising business. Every year, Microsoft invests more than $600 million (US) in research and development in Europe, and this investment is growing.

“The public sector can make a real contribution, but only in partnership with the private sector. That’s why I am delighted to welcome Microsoft’s decision to open new R&D facilities in three member states,” said José Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission. “For such a key global player as Microsoft to increase its R&D investments so substantially is a real vote of confidence in Europe and in European research excellence.”

Microsoft’s Live Search currently serves approximately 2 billion worldwide queries per month.

Commenting on the announcement, John Mangelaars, vice president of Consumer and Online at Microsoft Europe, Middle East and Africa said, “We’ve just scratched the surface in terms of what can be done in search. Our aim is to provide people with a richer, more personal search experience that helps people complete their search tasks faster, across PC and mobile, using more interactive tools such as images, video and location-based services, and by doing so create a more effective platform for our advertisers and partners.”


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