SMEs' cloud uptake expected to drive Microsoft growth - exec

- Tuesday, July 12, 2011

SMEs' cloud uptake expected to drive Microsoft growth - exec

Cloud adoption of Latin America's abundant SME market will help Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) increase its overall share of the IT market in the next three years, Diego Bekerman, director of Microsoft's Latin America partners programs and strategies, told BNamericas.

Currently, Microsoft and its 70,000 regional partners account for 61% of Latin America's US$38bn technology market estimated by IDC for 2011, he said on a conference call from the Microsoft world partner conference in Los Angeles, California. The goal is for the Microsoft ecosystem to represent 75% of Latin America's US$60bn tech market estimated for 2014.

"SMEs have been a growth driver throughout Latin America, and we believe that's the market where we have the best opportunities in getting new cloud clients. [The cloud] eliminates barriers and facilitates access, allowing for the consumption of technology under differentiated models," he said.

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Credit and financing are one of the main issues for Latin American SMEs, and the cloud allows for financial models that are attractive to SMEs. This "allows for the investment to be carried out over the long term, pay it as a service. We can adapt to the SMEs' needs in Latin America, with the understanding that when they grow, we can grow with them; if they stop growing we can stay with them where they are; or if they diversify we can help them with that too," he added. "The cloud will allow us to multiply the access to many more clients and SMEs that today can't access that technology."

On the other hand, large enterprises such as banks and government institutions are deploying hybrid cloud solutions, which also represent an opportunity for Microsoft partners in creating and maintaining these clouds, Bekerman said.

Furthermore, Latin America has experienced 17% year-on-year growth for new PCs that have entered the market, representing 35mn new PCs, he said, citing IDC. And more than half of those new computers are running on Windows.

On a worldwide level, "Windows 7 is having an impressive level of acceptance in the market, with more than 400mn licenses sold. The growth curve for the first 12 months has been the highest of any operating system ever," he said. "So we see a great opportunity to continue expanding with Windows 7."

Other opportunities in the region can be found in CRM, mobility with Windows Phone 7, Xbox sales and development, and virtualization, he added.

Latin America has been the region with the highest growth rates for two years in a row for Microsoft, Bekerman said.