Microsoft looks to Iraqi market

Microsoft is going after the Iraqi market and will set up an office in the country as soon as it feels it is safe enough to do so, Mohammed Kateeb, the regional director for Microsoft Middle East said this week. The company has already appointed somebody to run its operations in Iraq, and is now waiting for the security situation to stabilise.

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By  Peter Branton Published  September 14, 2003

Microsoft is going after the Iraqi market and will set up an office in the country as soon as it feels it is safe enough to do so, Mohammed Kateeb, the regional director for Microsoft Middle East said this week. The company has already appointed somebody to run its operations in Iraq, and is now waiting for the security situation to stabilise.

“We have plans to open a physical in-country presence in the near future, but only as soon as we feel that we can ensure the security of our employees,” Kateeb, told ITP.net. “Once Iraq’s security has stabilized you can expect us to move ahead. We have recruited a person to manage our Iraqi affairs..but he will be based in Dubai for the time being.”

Along with a number of other vendors who have declared an interest in the Iraqi market in the past few days, Microsoft sees the troubled country as potentially a huge market. Madar Research believes that 450,000 PCs will be purchased annually in Iraq between 2004 and 2008 and Microsoft unsurprisingly wants them to have as much of its software on them as possible.

“Iraq will be one of the top three economies in the Middle East – we are taking this market very seriously,” Kateeb said. “Iraq is potentially a huge market for technology vendors and we are very hopeful that Iraq will join the Middle East as a country contributing to the overall economy of the region.”

Microsoft is already working with partners who have a physical presence in Iraq and is “identifying and responding to the needs of some key customers” Kateeb said. “We have identified the team that will work there when the time comes. The only real hurdle is the security issue. This has slowed down our operations thus far. We are however, looking forward to working closely with the government of Iraq in helping to encourage full access to technology for the Iraqi government,” he added.

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