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(Japanese Site)

  • Microsoft Vows to Help Singapore One Network Project
  • March 23, 1998 (SINGAPORE) -- Microsoft Singapore Pte. Ltd. signed wide-ranging deals with the Singapore government and major private sector companies to promote Singapore One, the country's broadband multimedia network.
    The moves are part of Microsoft Corp.'s initiatives to help Singapore One become a leading information technology center in the region, chairman Bill Gates said.

    Speaking to about 400 chief executives and industry leaders on a brief visit to Singapore, Gates said developments in the country showed that it was already taking a technological lead ahead of others in the region. But others are also making major efforts to catch up.

    The first of the five initiatives is a two-year deal with the national telephone company Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. to help build video-on-demand services and develop broadband services together. The two companies also are working closely to implement high-speed connectivity and services in Singapore.

    Gates said that in the past few years tremendous progress has been seen in computer-related fields, but that connectivity lags.

    The second initiative is a letter of intent between the company and Singapore Cable Vision Pte. Ltd. (SCV), the country's only cable TV network provider. The deal will enable SCV to deploy advanced set-top boxes based on Windows CE and will ride on some of the work already done in the United States.

    "As orders are expected (to grow) for set-top boxes, SCV will benefit from economies of scale that this demand creates," said Gates.

    A third Microsoft initiative is with Television 12, a TV network that specializes in culture, society and classics. The deal aims to provide high value-added, consumer-oriented services using Microsoft Broadcast Architecture, Netshow Video Server and related Microsoft technologies, he said.

    The fourth initiative is a deal with Times Publishing Ltd. to set up Times Online Education Services. Gates said this online service is targeted to be a key part of the new electronic education services being set up by the Ministry of Education.

    "In response to the Ministry of Education's EduMall initiative, Microsoft and Times Publishing are creating an advanced educational online service designed for the Internet and Singapore ONE," said Marty Behrens, Microsoft's director for Internet services in Singapore.

    The fifth initiative is aimed at helping the Ministry of Education realize its IT Master Plan for Education, Gates noted.

    "Microsoft, working with KPMG and a group of world-class consultants, is preparing a formal paper that responds to the ideas detailed in the master plan. Education is the key component of the Web lifestyle that Microsoft to helping to build in Singapore," Gates said.

    Microsoft's goal is to create a Web lifestyle, where people use the Internet for everyday needs. While this idea, which was the thrust of his speech in Singapore, is being implemented in a major way at U.S. college campuses, it is still some years away from being a way of life in Singapore.

    Gates said many opportunities remain in the software industry. There are areas like speech and recognition technology that will be developed and the company's strategy is to build these into its Windows products.

    But Gates also cautioned that the software business is a "very risky business." One of the best ways that Microsoft creates value in the market is to continue focusing on research and development of new products, he said.

    (Joseph Rajendran, Asia BizTech Correspondent)

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    Nikkei BP BizTech, Inc.
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    Updated: Sun Mar 22 16:22:51 1998