KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 15 (Bernama) -- Microsoft Corporation announced Tuesday two initiatives to further the software company's digital inclusion programme in Malaysia.
The initiatives included a certification recognition programme for university graduates as well as a multilingual Windows XP Starter Edition for Malaysia which comprised four language interfaces.
Microsoft's chief executive officer Steve Ballmer, who was on his first visit to Malaysia, launched the HEdStart (Higher Education Start) programme with 17 public universities, a curriculum that would result in formal Microsoft certification recognition.
The programme would enhance the competitiveness of the current information technology (IT) curriculum offered by participating institutes with world-recognised industry certification, Ballmer said.
"HEdStart is another effort which will help bring the benefits of technology and information access to Malaysians. The certification will increase the marketability of the graduates in order to join a highly skilled pool of specialists all over the world," he said.
He was speaking to reporters after witnessing the signing of memorandum of understanding between Microsoft Malaysia with the 17 public universities and Prestariang Systems Sdn Bhd, a company which will implement and administer the curriculum in all the participating universities.
Also present at the signing was Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Dr Shafie Mohd Salleh.
On the multilingual Windows XP Starter Edition, Ballmer said it would feature four language interfaces -- Chinese, Tamil, English and Bahasa Melayu -- and is scheduled to be available locally in the first half of next year.
He said the product is expected to increase accessibility to technology for new computer users who could choose to use the easy-to-use and affordable version of Microsoft's Windows operating system in a language familiar to them.
Asked about Asia-Pacific's contribution to Microsoft's global revenue, Ballmer said: "It is a fastest growing region that we have. Asia-Pacific which includes South Korea, South-East Asia, India, Australia and New Zealand represent today approximately five percent of Microsoft's turnover."
However, he declined to comment on Asia-Pacific's growth in terms of contribution to Microsoft's revenue for next year.
During his one-day programme here, Ballmer also launched the latest editions of Microsoft's developer tools and server software, Visual Studio 2005, SQL Server 2005 and BizTalk Server 2006.
He said the company was delivering a broad family of tools and servers designed to enable businesses to better connect their people, business processes and information, and give customers the ability to make better decisions faster.