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IBM to expand operations in Karnataka
Fakir Chand in Bangalore |
May 05, 2003 15:10 IST
IBM Inc, the $81-billion world's largest IT firm, will be expanding its operations in Karnataka, including a Linux development centre at Hubli and ramping up its existing facilities in Bangalore, where the headquarters of its Indian subsidiary is located.
IBM's expansion plans in the state emerged out of a meeting between IBM chairman Samuel J Palmisano and Karnataka Chief Minister S M Krishna and senior government officials in Bangalore on Monday.
Though Palmisano declined to interact with the waiting newspersons, Krishna told the media after the 30-minute meeting that IBM India had decided to expand its Bangalore facility in the areas of software development, global services and research and development.
"The state government has told the IBM to look at Hubli in North Karnataka to set up a Linux development centre as the Software Technology Park of India has established a techno park for start-ups and new IT companies," Krishna stated.
Palmisano, who is on a three-day visit to India for the first time as IBM CEO, has assured the chief minister to respond positively on the subsidiary's expansion plans in the state.
"As part of our global IT policy, we have told the IBM chairman to enlarge its activities in Karnataka. We have put forth our views to strengthen IBM India's presence in the state and take advantage of our pro-IT initiatives as Bangalore offers the best of facilities, including high-skilled talent pool," Krishna disclosed.
Palmisano also mentioned to Krishna that IBM global was looking at Bangalore on priority to expand their operations, but did not reveal any investment figures.
"The discussions were at an exploratory stage. The details will be worked out with the state IT department. Though he did not disclose the investment plans, we understand that it would be huge as IBM is keen to take its operations in Bangalore and Karnataka to a global scale," Krishna affirmed.
Asked whether IBM had shown interest in setting shop in the hardware park the state government was planning to set up, the chief minister said though no specific mention was made, IBM expressed a holistic interest, which includes hardware, software, services and R&D.
Meanwhile, IBM director for external communications in Asia Fred P McNesse told rediff.com that Palmisano would be interacting with a number of its customers and partners during his current visit.
"As a company's policy, we do not make public Palmisano's schedule as we do not want our rival competitors to know whom all he is meeting and where all he is going in Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai," McNesse asserted.
Describing the significance of Palmisano's first visit to the sub-continent, McNesse said IBM India was increasingly becoming important to the Big Blue's global operations as a development centre with software and research labs, call centre and services.
"India is emerging as a huge market for IBM's operations. We value the domain expertise its talented engineers command. To be in India is a win-win situation for us," McNesse claimed.
Out of a total of 4000 people IBM employees in India, about 2,500 software engineers are located in Bangalore, with the rest spread in Hyderabad, Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai.
In calendar year 2002, IBM India posted a revenue of Rs 1800 crore (Rs 18 billion).
While Palmisano's itinerary in India continues to be closely guarded, officials said the chairman would be holding a series of meetings with the top management of the subsidiary later in the day and hold inter-active sessions with heads of project teams in software development, services and research labs.
With the Linux emerging as the fastest growing operating system the world over, IBM has enabled its entire range of hardware, software, middleware and services to operate on the new platform.
The Big Blue has so far invested $1billion to enable its entire software and hardware run on it for its global operations.
For instance, in India alone as many as 40 Internet Service Providers are making their operations on IBM Linux platform for mission critical applications. Many companies are moving from Unix to Linux.
Keeping in view the findings of the IDC, which have projected a phenomenal growth of Linux as the largest OS by 2004, IBM India is participating with the open source community for developing Linux.
According to IBM India managing director and CEO Abraham Thomas, the IBM Linux development centre in Bangalore, which is among the seven such facilities worldwide, supports business partners and independent software vendors in the South Asian region.
"The development centre brings key IBM enterprise class strengths to Linux, especially in areas such as reliability, availability and serviceability," Thomas added.
The centre is also developing the OS for a PDA device, the size of a wrist watch to demonstrate the viability of Linux across platforms, be they large enterprise servers, workstations, desktop, mobile computers or the smallest intelligent devices.
The company has already set up a Linux competency centre in Bangalore, the fourth of its kind in Asia, to develop standards and embedded software for open source. It also plans to rope in various universities to develop curriculum with applications, middleware, and tools on Linux.
To achieve the set goals, IBM India has so far invested $100 million during the last two years in expanding its countrywide operations, including software development facilities in Bangalore and Pune, and a new centre at Gurgaon in Haryana.