Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer signed a memorandum of understanding in Russia today, to build a research and development centre – à la Silicon Valley – in a location outside of Moscow.
Ballmer and oil and mining mogul Viktor Vekselberg, who is the head of the Skolkovo Fund, inked the memorandum this morning.
"We are establishing a software development R&D center in Skolkovo and it will be the local point for managing the development of Microsoft's global products," Ballmer said.
Big Steve also seemed to channel Michael Dell’s unwise comment about Russia’s economy to the country’s prime minister Vladimir Putin in January 2009, by offering up these comforting words:
"Microsoft is committed to continuing investments to foster local IT industry development and expand growth opportunities for an innovative economy in Russia. We are proud to be participating in the Skolkovo project which represents an important step towards increasing technology innovation and modernising the economy in Russia."
Presumably, ex-KGB agent and former Russia pres Putin has already been on the blower to Ballmer to put him straight about not needing any help to broaden, or indeed “modernise” Russia’s economy.
The Skolkovo memorandum also signalled the return to Europe of Redmond’s CEO, who is once again touting his company’s cloudy wares just a few short weeks after popping up in the UK, Germany, Sweden, France and Spain last month.
After his visit to Russia, Ballmer plans to drop in on customers in Saudi Arabia and the Ukraine later this week where he’ll be unleashing his best sales spiel to convince EMEA customers to buy Microsoft’s cloud computing products. ®