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Biggest ever Gitex is underway

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum cuts the opening ribbon at the Gulf Information Technology Exhibition (Gitex) conference.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has cut the opening ribbon at the Gulf Information Technology Exhibition (Gitex) 2006 conference.

With over 3,000 companies from 60 countries, the conference – held at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre – will the be largest in its 26 year history. The IT retail trade – worth $1.2 trillion a year worldwide – is expecting a boost from the exhibition, the third largest in its sector in the world. 

Dubai World – one of the largest holding companies on the planet – will have an unprecedented presence at this year’s event.  It is expected to announce a new IT deal with Microsoft, as well as innovations in its corporate branding and online presence. 

Other big announcements expected include the launch of Microsoft’s Vista operating system, due to take place tomorrow, and showcasing of several products by companies running VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) services. 

VoIP – which allows users to make free calls over the internet using services such as Skype – is currently illegal in the UAE.  The ban could be lifted next month – but only for the two national licensed telephone operators, Etisalat and du. An announcement on this is expected at the new Gulfcomms expo, which runs concurrently with Gitex. 

Gitex, which expects to attract 130,000 visitors, runs until November 22. 

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