Microsoft is to create 50 new jobs at its Irish operations this year, out of the 4,000-5,000 being added to the software giant’s global headcount, announced last week by chairman Bill Gates.
A spokesperson for Microsoft confirmed that 20 of the jobs have already been filled since March, mostly in the area of sales and support. An additional 15 jobs in sales positions are to be filled in the coming months and the remainder in a variety of roles.
“Out of the 4,000-5,000 new jobs, Ireland would account for 50 of these positions. These were actual jobs that were planned in and 20 of these positions have been filled since March,” the spokesperson said.
At a meeting with financial analysts last week Bill Gates revealed plans to add 4,000 to 5,000 new jobs to Microsoft’s headcount this year. Some 3,000 to 3,500 of the new jobs will be created in the US.
In addition, Gates added US$500m to Microsoft’s research and development budget, an 8pc increase that will bring Microsoft’s total spend to US$6.8bn on R&D. “We believe we are just at the beginning of what we can do with software,” Gates said.
The increase in R&D spending comes at a time when a drawn-out IT slowdown will take Microsoft’s annual growth rate to below 10pc for the first time in the company’s history. Much of the R&D work will go into the creation of Microsoft’s next-generation operations system codenamed “Longhorn”. The first version of the new OS is not expected to debut until 2005 or later.
Key research areas are likely to include speech recognition software as well as efforts to integrate the company’s standalone software programs more efficiently into the Windows operating system.
Microsoft employs around 1,200 people in Dublin in a variety of programming, localisation, e-business, internet, games development, business support and sales roles.
By John Kennedy