PRESS RELEASE: Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer visits Serbia to support the country’s goal to become a Balkan technology hub
05 November 2013

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Belgrade, 4th November, 2013 – Steve Ballmer, CEO Microsoft Corporation, today visited Serbia and met with government leaders, customers, partners, as well as Microsoft employees. As part of his visit, Ballmer met with Ivica Dačić, Serbian Prime minister; Aleksandar Vučić, first Deputy Prime minister; members of the Government and the Economic Council to discuss how the IT industry is accelerating the local economy and increasing national competitiveness.

”I’m thrilled to have had the opportunity to visit Serbia and meet with government leaders, customers, partners, as well as Microsoft employees. At Microsoft, we are incredibly passionate about enabling high-value activities through a family of devices and services for people and businesses around the globe,” said Steve Ballmer, CEO, Microsoft Corp. “That same passion fuels our business in Serbia as we serve local companies, forge new partnerships and develop important new technologies in the Microsoft Belgrade Development Center that reach hundreds of millions of people globally. There’s a lot of opportunity ahead and we’re thrilled to help the people and businesses of Serbia seize all of it.”

The IT industry represents a significant opportunity for the Serbian economy. According to available data, the global IT industry grows some 60% quicker in comparison to the rest of the economy, while in Serbia the IT industry outgrows the rest of the local economy by nearly 200% . This confirms the fast-paced development of the Serbian IT sector and its potential.

“Good cooperation between the Serbian government and Microsoft enters its second decade, and Microsoft, a leader in innovation in the IT industry has repeatedly proved over the years to be a true partner of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, supporting our efforts on the development of the local IT industry, increasing computer literacy and intellectual property rights,” said Ivica Dačić, Prime Minister, Serbia. “The Serbian Government has prioritized the growth and development of the IT sector as one of its top economic priorities, because this industry could be an impetus for the country's economic recovery. Serbia has great potential in this field.”

Throughout Microsoft’s 12 year presence in the country, the company has been a key contributor toward a better understanding of new technologies among users in Serbia. In 2005 Microsoft opened its Development Center, the first of its kind in this area of Europe. This Development Center team is composed of more than 150 ambitious young Serbians and offers excellent career paths for those who want to acquire deep domain expertise and develop engineering excellence in the technologies of their choice. The company is also actively engaging with customers here through a well-developed network of more than 1,000 Microsoft partners in the country.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Microsoft in Serbia was established in Belgrade in 2002 when the Serbian Government signed the agreement on strategic cooperation in the field of information technology with Bill Gates. This agreement on strategic partnership represented a foundation for the long-term cooperation aimed at boosting scientific and technological development in Serbia, on all levels. Since opening, the Microsoft office in Serbia has achieved remarkable results in developing the local IT market. Knowing that decreasing the software piracy rate is one of the prerequisites for entering the European Union, the local Microsoft office has devoted its business operations to the legalization of software in Serbia and to the fight against piracy. In September 2005, Microsoft opened a Development center in Belgrade. Today, the development team consists of more than 150 top IT experts from Serbia, all of whom have been educated in Serbia. The average age of the team is 28 years old. Thanks to Microsoft, they have stayed in Serbia. All Microsoft projects developed in Serbia have been acknowledged both by the Microsoft Corporation globally and millions of users worldwide, promoting Serbia and placing it on the world map as an important technological spot.

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Contact for more information:

Tanja Tatomirović, PR & Citizenship Lead for Microsoft Serbia and Montenegro,
a-tanjat@microsoft.com; +381653306699

Vasilije Perović, Account Executive, Executive Group,
vasilije_perovic@eg.rs; +381607071079