Microsoft will at the end of August announce the names of the black-owned SA companies into which it plans to invest nearly R500m.
That’s the word from Microsoft SA spokesman Adrian Wainwright, who says the company has received more than 650 applications from interested IT companies.
In April, Microsoft SA MD Mteto Nyati told TechCentral that the company had expected to receive about 200 applications from interested companies. It received more than three times this amount.
An evaluation committee, led by KPMG, is scrutinising the applications with a view to finalising the process by the end of next month, says Wainwright.
Microsoft announced in April that it would pump R472m into local, black-owned software companies over the next seven years in a move aimed, in part, at improving the company’s black economic empowerment (BEE) credentials without it having to sell an equity stake in its local operation.
Like other US companies, Microsoft says it can’t sell a stake in its SA operation for regulatory and other reasons.
The money to be invested in the “equity equivalence” deal will be spent in roughly equal portions of nearly R70m/year over the seven-year investment period.
Microsoft plans to invest the money in between five and 10 black-led and black-owned software development houses, providing them with technical, business and marketing support.
Nyati says Microsoft will not take an equity stake in any of the businesses it works with and does not expect any payments in return.
Part of the programme will involve training hundreds of tertiary-level graduates in technology systems. — Duncan McLeod, TechCentral