6,000 people work in Microsoft’s Northern Ireland ecosystem

1 Dec 2010

A network of 436 Microsoft partners now employ 6,000 people in Northern Ireland, the president of Microsoft Europe Jan Muehlfeit said today, marking 10 years of the Seattle software giant investing in the region.

Industry analysts IDC estimates that typically that every dollar Microsoft earns represents $9 to the partnership community.

Ten years ago, a decision was made to invest in Northern Ireland by recruiting resources. Microsoft opened its first dedicated office in Belfast in 2004, in the Northern Ireland Science Park.

The chairman of Microsoft Europe Jan Muehlfeit emphasised the importance of cloud computing to the future economic health of Northern Ireland.

“One tool that can deliver for Northern Irish organisations, of all sizes, is the cloud. The cloud offers significant potential to the economy as a whole if the public and private sector embrace it early.

“Northern Ireland could become a centre of excellence for cloud computing, a location for inward investment and could use this as a platform to drive a competitive strategy.”

Microsoft’s investment in Northern Ireland

Microsoft’s Belfast office services the entire region and manages all sales and marketing for partners and customers of all sizes, from enterprise customers, public sector, small and medium-sized businesses and consumers.

Microsoft has also invested significantly in the NGO sector and worked extensively with schools in the region.

The software giant has contributed stg£1m worth of software to local charities over the past four years and has supported NGOs through the umbrella charity body, NICVA, by providing advice on better use of IT for non-profit groups.

Microsoft also works with the Fast-track to IT (FIT NI) programme, which helps to get people in marginalised areas into employment by supporting them with IT training. The company has also worked with the PSNI to provide internet safety training in schools and has trained 12,000 students in safer internet use. 

Over the last decade, Microsoft has also invested significantly in the education sector across Northern Ireland. Today, it works across primary, second and third-level institutions, to increase access to and share best practice from teachers and educational institutions within Northern Ireland around the world.

Congratulating Microsoft on its 10-year investment in Northern Ireland, Mr David Sterling, Permanent Secretary at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment, said: “Microsoft’s reinvestment over a 10-year period demonstrates its long-term commitment, not only to the Northern Ireland economy but to the local community. 

“With over 900 companies and an estimated 15,000 people employed in the sector in Northern Ireland, ICT is one of the fundamental pillars on which our aspiring knowledge-based economy, is built.

“As one of the world’s most recognised brands and as a world leader in the field of ICT, Microsoft sends a clear message to potential foreign direct investors that Northern Ireland is a good place to do business and to invest.”

Barry McLean, regional manager for Microsoft Northern Ireland, said that Microsoft’s technology and solutions have played a key role in helping both private and public-sector organisations increase productivity and enhance their effectiveness over the years.

“Our dedicated team of sales and services experts have worked with some of the largest and most innovative organisations in the region and our client base straddles multinationals as well as local entrepreneurial indigenous companies. Microsoft also has long-term relationships with public sector bodies in the North and we are actively bringing the benefits of the cloud to a range of organisations in Northern Ireland,” McLean said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years