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(Japanese Site)

  • Microsoft, Philippine Companies Sign Cooperation Pacts
  • March 25, 1998 (MANILA) -- Microsoft Corp. chairman Bill Gates signed several cooperation agreements March 20 with major companies during his visit to Manila.
    Gates visited the country upon the invitation of Philippine President Fidel Ramos.

    Among the memorandums of understanding signed were those with Ayala Corp. and the Lopez Group.

    Microsoft signed a memorandum of understanding with Ayala to explore partnerships in information technology.

    The projects under consideration by Microsoft and Ayala are ventures in electronic commerce, digital entertainment, intranet and extranet applications, multimedia technologies and the possible establishment of a technology zone or an investment area for information technology-related companies.

    With the Lopez Group, Microsoft plans to set up learning centers for students and create Internet technology for the banking and travel sectors. The Lopez Group includes Manila Electric Co., the holding companies Benpres Holding Corp. and First Philippine Holdings Corp., and the television network ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corp.

    Microsoft Philippines Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft Corp., said the memorandums of understanding with the two companies show its basic commitment to strategic partnerships in the country.

    Microsoft Philippines Country Manager Dave De Leon said that in its cooperation agreements with Ayala, the company is primarily focused on adding value to Ayala's electronic-commerce business.

    "Specifically, we would like to help Ayala establish an intranet model that would allow subsidiaries within the Ayala group to communicate and collaborate using applications such as executive information systems," said Microsoft Philippines account manager Butch Blanco.

    Ayala's planned extranet project will reinforce its subsidiaries' communication network and enhance its online transactions with their clients and suppliers. This would assist Ayala's banking, property and insurance businesses.

    Blanco said Microsoft's memorandum of understanding with Ayala solidifies a partnership that started in 1996. At least 10 major subsidiaries of Ayala are using Microsoft products for their desktop and back office networks.

    Microsoft Philippines senior manager Raymond Catane said Microsoft will serve as a technology consultant to the Lopez Group's subsidiaries. The Lopez Group's ABS-CBN network, for instance, is considering the expansion of its Web site for the development of education, entertainment and news content.

    "ABS-CBN would like to know how technology provided by Microsoft can be used to stimulate business opportunities," Catane said.

    Gates told corporate managers that the Southeast Asian financial crisis isn't an excuse to completely postpone plans to set up an information infrastructure.

    "In the business world, it is important for a company to monitor currency movements. Using information technology in the financial sector and creating openness and transparency will prevent (other crises)," he said.

    Related story: Microsoft's Gates Visits Ramos in the Philippines

    (Margarita Roa, Asia BizTech Correspondent)

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    Updated: Tue Mar 24 21:47:28 1998