Microsoft to increase development staff in India

Microsoft plans to double development and support staff in India.

Microsoft Corp. plans to double the number of staff at its Indian operations in Hyderabad and Bangalore by March next year, according to news reports over the weekend from Hyderabad, where the company has large development operations.

The Hindu Business Line, a local daily, quoted Tess Field, director of human resources at Microsoft India as saying that the company is doubling the number of staff it has in Hyderabad and Bangalore, taking the total number of staff to 3,000.

Microsoft India officials were not available for comment on the reports. An inquiry by IDG News Service, however, reveals that the company is indeed planning to double the number of staff it has in Bangalore and Hyderabad by March next year, but the increase in number of staff in Hyderabad may be higher than was reported.

Microsoft already has 600 staff in Hyderabad doing product development at its India Development Center, besides another 500 staff at its Global Development Center in the city, which is focused on software development for Microsoft's own IS requirements. The number of staff at both these operations in Hyderabad will double to 2,200 staff by March next year, according to a source close to the situation.

Microsoft in Redmond, Washington, also has a support center in Bangalore. Called the Global Technology Support Center, the operation offers voice and e-mail tech support to Microsoft's customers, and currently employs 500 staff. The number of staff at this center is likely to double to 1,000 by March next year, according to the source.

In November last year, Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's chief executive officer, told reporters in Hyderabad that Microsoft would be hiring hundreds of new staff for its operations in the city over the next 12 months. Ballmer was attending the formal inauguration of the company's new 28-acres campus in Manikonda on the outskirts of Hyderabad.

Microsoft's center at Manikonda has been a target of lobbyists in the U.S. opposed to offshore outsourcing, including Seattle-based Washington Alliance of Technology Workers (WashTech). WashTech said last year that as Microsoft was expanding its facilities in India, workers in Redmond will face direct competition from workers in India that make a fraction of their wages.

The hiring of more staff for its software development and support operations in India would not however lead to loss of jobs in the US, Ballmer added at the inauguration of the Manikonda facility.

A number of US technology companies, including Oracle Corp. and Sun Microsystems Inc., do software development in India.

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