During his visit to USA, Minister ERGÜN met Steve Ballmer, the Chief Executive Officer of Microsoft at Microsoft Redmond Campus in a meeting secluded to press.
Minister of Science, Industry and Technology Nihat ERGÜN stated that:
''Turkey has turned into a prominent centre for research and development thanks to its potential and the incentives granted. During the meeting, we discussed these issues with Mr Ballmer and encouraged him to invest in Turkey''
''We discussed the possibility of establishing an R&D Center by Microsoft in Turkey similar to those already established in Israel and India. Mr. Ballmer stated that he would assign a team to Turkey to investigate the feasibility of this issue''
''Microsoft will launch a program to develop one of the components of Skype in Turkey.”
During his evaluations with the press concerning the meeting, to which Mr Tamer Özmen, the General Director of Microsoft Turkey also attended, Minister Ergün stated that Turkey’s successful progress recorded in recent years has been discussed and Ballmer stated that they were perfectly aware of the economic rise of Turkey.
Ergün mentioned that the outcome of the meeting was very positive and that Steve Ballmer frankly expressed his sincere thoughts about Turkey.
Ergün also said that Steve Ballmer, the CEO of Microsoft, is aware of the economic blossom in Turkey, its potential, its young and dynamic population and the increase on national income.
Pointing out to the remarkable progress in the ICT sector, Minister Ergün noted that Turkey’s well-educated and young population was the major factor triggering this rapid progress.
''During our meeting, I discussed with Mr Ballmer the possibility of establishing several operations of Microsoft in Turkey. Realizing the potential of Turkey; Mr Ballmer stated that they would be pleased to reflect on this issue. Cooperation at university level was also discussed. There is an already cooperation between a research group and Koç University.
Steve Ballmer stated that Microsoft supports further cooperation with other universities in Turkey and that within this framework he would launch a specific program. This is a very pleasing development. This is essential both for Microsoft and for universities in Turkey. Another point which is worthy of mentioning is that Microsoft has established research and development centers both in Israel and in India. These centers offer employment to approximately 1000 people. There are very important research projects carried out in these centers''
Minister Ergün underlined the fact that Turkey became a research and development center both in terms of the incentives allocated and in terms of the potential offered, and added that “We discussed about these issues with Mr. Ballmer. We encouraged Mr. Ballmer to invest in Turkey by establishing a research and development center in Turkey similar to those in Israel and India. He said that he would assign a team of experts to investigate the feasibility of this initiative and consider this issue.
Minister Ergün stated that Microsoft is engaged in the development of ground breaking technologies which would enable performing multiple tasks in one computer. Minister Ergün also stated that Microsoft currently worked on a project for the disabled people who lack extremities. The project would allow them to use computers by means of their tongues through a chip fixed to their palates.
''We have pledged our lives for that''
Having mentioned that Mr. Ballmer would initiate a program to establish R&D Centers in Turkey, Ergün continued:
''The opportunities provided in Turkey for the production of various products were discussed. I briefed Mr. Ballmer about the existing R&D incentive mechanisms in Turkey. I also stressed the importance of the availability of a central location for Microsoft and the region. Brief information about incentives allocated to Informatics Valley was also provided. Mr. Ballmer expressed his idea about basing one of the components of Skype in Turkey, which is located in Europe. Skype currently faces several challenges in Northern Europe on recruiting sufficient number of qualified software engineers and technical staff due to lack of population. Microsoft will initiate a program to develop Skype in Turkey.
Parallel to the wide use of cloud computing, it is expected that there will be a significant demand for hardware as well. Since different servers will be located at different points, a regional production centre needs to be established. Cloud computing shall pave the way for hardware production in Turkey. Microsoft gives utmost importance to this subject stating that they have pledged their lives for that. The next step will be on hardware production.
Referring to the licensing rights concerning the use of Microsoft for the software infrastructure in Fatih Project, Minister Ergün continued;
''Mr. Ballmer referred to this as a legal requirement. Despite the collection of the fees, these shall be reimbursed as investment in the country. If the fee is not collected, the issue will be subject to official investigation. Mr. Ballmer particularly underlined the fact that such fees shall be reimbursed through investing in the country within the framework of educational system”.
“It has been a very sincere meeting. A team of experts shall visit Turkey and work with Turkish experts to reflect on the possibility of carrying out several Microsoft activities in Turkey. There are various experiences concerning the Tablet PC’s. The case in Portugal has been successful to a certain level. However, since they did not attach the necessary importance to the content development and to the qualities of the lecturers, it was also a failure. However, Ministry of Education in Turkey attaches the utmost importance both to the content development and the lecturer so the path they follow is somehow different than the one in Portugal. I currently can not make any comments concerning the production of tablet PCs in Turkey or whether Microsoft will take a role or not''.
Three important issues to be taken into consideration in the short term...
Minister ERGÜN referred to three important issues that needed to be addressed: Establishment of further cooperation between the universities and Microsoft, establishment of an R&D center and setting forth continuous effort to develop a component of Skype in Turkey.
Minister ERGÜN underlined that all these three issues are feasible and the cooperation at university level has already been initiated by Koç University.
Minister ERGÜN stated: “I attach great importance to those three issues. The fact that we are reflecting and working on these issues is also very exciting. They are perfectly aware of the opportunities that will rise for Microsoft once the education model concerning the use of Tablet PCs has fully been implemented. Even if Microsoft does not take a role within this project, it is still a great provider of smart solutions to the world. Microsoft is aware of the fact that it will largely be included in that system. It is not because of some certain conditions it is because of Turkey’s potential”.
Stating that the economy of Turkey has become the 16th largest economy in the world whereas it was the 26th largest economy in the past, Minister Ergün noted that Turkey ranks as the 27th among the countries where Microsoft is engaged in business. Minister Ergün also noted that Mr. Ballmer asked why Turkey does not rank as the 16th country among all the countries they are involved in.
Stating that cloud computing model could be used in public sector due to its flexible nature, Minister Ergün continued “I personally think that several public administrations can transfer into cloud computing. The visibility of cloud computing must be increased in Turkey. There are many companies which are not knowledgeable about the issue.