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29 Jun 2005


Software Industry: Thriving amid Numerous Impediments


The official visit to Thailand of Mr. Bill Gates ? founder of Microsoft, the world's largest software producer ? on June 30, 2005, will bring significant changes to Thailand's software industry. He will meet with the Thai Prime Minister and co-sign three Memoranda of Understanding (MOU), i.e., an MOU on education with the Ministry of Education, an MOU on support for the e-Government Project with the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology, and an MOU on development of web services as a central marketplace to conduct transactions via the Internet. Also, his visit to Asia indicates his interest in expanding his software business in this region where the IT market value has recently surged remarkably. It is also expected that the Asian software market will see higher growth than other key markets, i.e., the North America and Europe. Despite the widespread use of Microsoft software in Asia, copyright infringement has also been rampant. In addition, governments in several countries in the region have implemented policies to support the use of open-source software. Under these circumstances, Microsoft cannot afford to remain idle and has had to adopt a more aggressive approach to its business operations. Thus, the coming of Mr. Bill Gates to Thailand will undoubtedly lead to changes in the tack of the Thai software industry.

Previously, the government has made an effort to stimulate the software industry as a stellar industry because the trend in software use shows increase each year. But, most software that is used domestically is produced overseas, which forces most users buy more and more foreign software. This causes Thailand to lose considerable foreign exchange. KRC is of the opinion that the domestic software industry needs to be driven more in its main objective to reduce the import volume and dependence on foreign software, as well as in resource management relevant to various aspects such as increased quantity and quality of personnel. Fundamental factors must be attended to in order that software production companies in Thailand may carry on with their businesses. Thailand also has many strong points over other countries such as its peacefulness, lacking the adverse violence seen in neighboring countries, as well as having a growing domestic economy, which is helping the domestic IT market to also grow steadily. Although, at present, Thailand still lacks sufficient IT personnel as an important factor for the development of the software industry, if the state sector and private agencies cooperate seriously, the target to make Thailand an important software exporting country in the region will not be too far away to succeed.