Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 22nd 2014 Contents MAY 2014 • WEEK FOUR www.guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
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"Cloud first, mobile first," Barry Ridgway says
emphatically when I ask what Microsoft s priority
strategy is in the Caribbean and Latin America.
"It s the mission that Satya Nadella has outlined,
and it s our primary strategy in the region."
Ridgway is new to the role of vice-president of
the sales, marketing and services group of Microsoft
Latin America, but he s no novice at the company.
He s an 18-year veteran at Microsoft and has taken
his first year to properly understand the markets now
under his care.
Last week Ridgway made his first visit to T&T
after an earlier trip was postponed and his first mission
was to be present at the signing of a memorandum
of understanding (MoU) between Microsoft and its
community partner Caribbean Industrial Research
Institute (Cariri) for the establishment of Microsoft s
first Innovation Centre in the Caribbean.
Microsoft has established 110 centres in 80 countries
throughout the world, 20 of which are in Latin Amer-
ica. This is the first centre to be established in the
Caribbean region. The Innovation Centre, scheduled
for opening in August 2014, will offer capacity building
opportunities to the whole Caribbean region.
"Latin America is a big growth engine for
Microsoft," says Ridgway, "and T&T is one of our
biggest markets and a gateway for us to the Southern
"Microsoft needs a strong hub to build partners
who do well in T&T and in the region. We definitely
see T&T as a platform for expanding our presence
in the region."
Talking to the media wasn t Ridgway s first priority
on this initial visit, he came to visit Government and
big Microsoft customers to share the company s strat-
egy, which has been evolving quickly since Satya
Nadella took over the helm of the company.
The company may not have had major successes
with Windows Phone 8 in T&T, but is reassured by
its market presence in Mexico, where its share is
growing toward 25 per cent of the mobile market
with a double-digit presence in other Latin American
Microsoft s immediate thrust is in improving its
push into cloud services under the Azure brand, a
platform neutral menu of services that finds its most
public presence as Office 365, which also happens
to be the company s fastest growing cloud-based
Microsoft forecasts that as much as 25 per cent
of its traditional Office suite business will move to
the cloud and points to ten million users in Latam
who are already using Office 365. Microsoft currently
counts more than 1.6 billion Office 365 users glob-
Microsoft T&T recently announced a significant
price drop on Office 365 subscriptions
(http://ow.ly/wYUQD), a strategy that country man-
ager Frances Correia describes as being one that
ensures the company "gets our fair share of the mar-
"The more people who get on the cloud," adds
Ridgway, "the more efficient it becomes."
Azure, which the company positions as Infrastruc-
ture as a service, has experienced 200 per cent growth
in Latam over the last year.
Ridgway acknowledges that as a fairly recent player
into this specific market it benchmarks its progress
against Amazon s cloud services, noting that it is
experiencing faster growth rates than its incumbent
Microsoft is focusing its growth efforts for Azure
on small and medium businesses (SMBs) who can
make efficient and cost-effective use of the flexibility
of such cloud-based services.
To that end, Microsoft is investing in ensuring that
it provides cloud based infrastructure that s automated
on the back end to ensure quick response and to
simplify customer engagement with the system.
Regarding the absence of Microsoft s Surface tablet
from the T&T market, Ridgway noted that "Surface
was an iPad competitor, but iOS is not the dominant
player in Latam."
"The tablet market is dominanted by sub-US$200
Android tablets, and we know we need to have prod-
ucts in that space to be properly competitive."
"A lot of our current strategy is changing the way
we think about our products," Ridgway explained.
In April, Microsoft announced a programme to
offer Windows for free on devices with screens smaller
than nine inches, "Windows for the Internet of
Things," as the company described it.
"Windows was considered a socket, it was the
device and what you add to it. Cloud services are
going to become the socket, and the devices will plug
For that reason, Microsoft s new emphasis is to
drive services that are available cross platform
"Our devices must be competitive, but our first
mission is to have services that are interoperable with
the devices that people are using," Ridgway said.
"We continue to address concerns about cloud
based services," adds Correia.
"We bring subject matter experts to address cus-
tomer concerns and to build understanding and con-
fidence in the platform."
"We re just getting started with cloud opportunities,"
T&T a key
Barry Ridgway, Microsoft's vice-president of the sales, marketing and services
group for Microsoft Latin America.
PHOTO: MARK LYNDERSAY
Our devices must be competitive, but our first mission is to have
services that are interoperable with the devices that people are using.
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