Asia's 4.8M IT jobs spawned by Microsoft

Jobs related to Microsoft's products account for 40 percent of all tech jobs in the Asia-Pacific region, according to IDC's latest study.

Microsoft's ecosystem is responsible for 40 percent of IT employment in the Asia-Pacific region, according to the latest study by IDC.

Microsoft's ecosystem, defined as "companies that create or sell products that run with or on Microsoft software, or that service and distribute Microsoft software", accounts for 4.8 million of the 11.9 million IT jobs in the region, noted the research house.

Commissioned by Microsoft, the IDC study is projecting these companies to generate over US$83 billion in revenue for the region this year, as well as contribute a further US$153.9 billion to the region's overall GDP (gross domestic product). Tax revenues accrued from the 4.8 million jobs is estimated to hit US$133 billion.

Globally, IDC predicts Microsoft technology-related jobs to increase by nearly 3 million over the next four years.

While software accounts for a modest slice of overall IT spending, it "has a disproportionately positive impact on local economies", the analyst firm noted in a statement.

Software spend accounts for 15 percent of the region's total IT market, but is dwarfed by 35.9 percent of IT employees who perform other functions like creating, distributing, installing or servicing software.

IDC's study found that for every US$1 Microsoft earns this year, companies in the region working with it would earn US$11.18 on average.

Asia's developing markets also hold more promise for Microsoft's ecosystem, as emerging markets such as China and India see a ratio of US$16 to every US$1 that Microsoft earns.

Oliver Bell, Microsoft Asia-Pacific regional technology officer, said in a phone interview that earnings have gone up from five years ago when the ratio was US$8 to every US$1 Microsoft earned. He attributed the uptrend to more companies building their business on Microsoft's products.

Despite this positive outlook, Microsoft may see its footprint in the region decrease as economies mature, said one analyst.

Victor Lim, IDC's vice president of its Asia-Pacific consulting operations, told ZDNet Asia: "If the industry structure remains as it is today, Microsoft's impact may lessen as economies mature, because of the diversity of competition. That's a challenge for Microsoft."

Although he expects Microsoft's role in the industry to remain strong, Lim said the software giant's dominant position inevitably creates opportunities for competitors.

"As the tide rises, so does everybody's boat. Microsoft's rivals are benefiting from increased demand for products similar to Microsoft's. Others are coming up to say that they're providing similar applications, but the reason why there's a market is because Microsoft created it. We see that especially in the office software market," he explained.

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