December 06, 2005


I was surprised to see that Bill Gates got unprecedented welcome from Bangladesh just like a head of state. His and Melinda's portraits were hung in front of the VVIP lounge of ZI Airport. Prime Minister personally greeted him in front of her room. All the major ministers were present at different discussion sessions.

Bangladesh is a business potential for Microsoft as due to absence of strict intellectual property/piracy law a major portion of PCs in Bangladesh use pirated Microsoft software. Unlike other countries you can buy an assembled clone desktop PC without software very cheap ($400-$500) and you can buy the pirated software CDs @$1. But now the situation is changing. More local Business houses are keen to get licensed software to be compliant to certain standard. As soon as there are strict IP act in place, everybody will have no option other than to buy the licenses unless they choose open source applications (like Linux based). But Microsoft is widely popular here. And Bangladesh hardware market is growing in exponential rate.

So Gates had no hesitation to sign an agreement with Bangladesh ministry of education to train 10,000 teachers and 200,000 students over the next three years. Obviously the estimated $15 million dollars required for this training would be an investment for potential market for Microsoft software these users will create.

I see the benefit for Bangladesh in the Microsoft announced grant of $15 million for the Asian Women's University in Chittagong. Even from the richest person in the world that is very generous. And Gates also assured that Microsoft will include the Bangladeshi Bangla typing layout in its Windows OS. Currently the layout is based on the Indian INSCRIPT layout which is unfamiliar to most Bangla speaking community.

Bill Gates is also keen to expand investment in Bangladesh.


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