Like The Herald Business Journal on Facebook!
The Herald of Everett, Washington
Heraldnet.com

The top local business stories in your email

Contact Us:

Josh O'Connor
Publisher
Phone: 425-339-3007
joconnor@heraldnet.com

Jody Knoblich
General Sales Manager
Phone: 425-339-3445
Fax: 425-339-3049
jknoblich@heraldnet.com

Jim Davis
Editor
Phone: 425-339-3097
jdavis@heraldnet.com

Site address:
1800 41st Street, S-300,
Everett, WA 98203

Mailing address:
P.O. Box 930
Everett, WA 98206

HBJ RSS feeds

  • Members of Microsoft Latin America’s finance team work in the company’s Fort Lauderdale headquarters.

    Susan Stocker / Sun Sentinel

    Members of Microsoft Latin America’s finance team work in the company’s Fort Lauderdale headquarters.

Microsoft’s foothold in Florida surging

The Fort Lauderdale branch oversees operations in 46 countries and territories in Latin America and the Caribbean.

SHARE: facebook Twitter icon Pinterest icon Linkedin icon Google+ icon Email icon |  PRINTER-FRIENDLY  |  COMMENTS
Sun Sentinel
Published:
It’s easy to envision what a world-class technology hub for the Americas could look like in Florida. There’s already one shining example in Fort Lauderdale at Microsoft’s Latin America headquarters.
The tech giant employs 400 people at its bustling offices, up from 100 five years ago. Its business in Latin America and the Caribbean has tripled in that same time to top $1 billion per year.
From the Fort Lauderdale headquarters, Microsoft oversees operations in 46 countries and territories in Latin America and the Caribbean, where it employs some 2,000 people in factories, research, sales and other operations.
Business is so strong that the region ranked as the fastest-growth area for Microsoft worldwide in recent years, said Microsoft Latin America President Hernan Rincon.
“We believe that Latin America is a land of opportunities,” said Rincon, a Colombian industrial engineer.
Last year, the fast-developing region ranked No. 5 for sales among Microsoft’s 13 world regions, as its growing middle class snapped up computers, game consoles, cellphones and many other tech offerings. And speedy growth should continue.
Rincon cited studies from researcher IDC forecasting predicting investment in information technology in Latin America could reach $139 billion this year, up 8 percent from 2013. Sales of tablets alone should rise 34 percent in the region this year, IDC predicts.
Tapping into that economic activity should bring more tech jobs and business to Florida, say organizers behind eMerge Americas, a group pushing to make the region a tech hub for the Americas. The movement’s first conference starts today in Miami Beach.
Microsoft is actively involved with the eMerge conference, especially with sessions on helping cities use technology to better connect systems, data and people. Microsoft already is working on its CityNext programs with officials in Buenos Aires, Argentina; Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Medellin, Colombia, to make information more accessible and services more affordable, Rincon said.
Microsoft chose Florida for its Latin America headquarters about two decades ago. It moved to its current locale in Fort Lauderdale in 2002. The lure: proximity and easy access to Latin America, “perspective” to lead the entire region from a Florida location and the availability of diverse talent both from Florida and Latin America, executives said.
The company’s presence and expansion serves as a selling point for business in Broward County.
“For Microsoft to have their Latin America headquarters in Broward is a huge vote of confidence for our area,” said Bob Swindell, chief executive of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance, the county’s economic development partnership.
Florida long has worked to lure corporate headquarters for Latin America. Those offices typically offer jobs paying above average salaries based on staff with language and cultural skills.
Their overseas links also often lead to greater trade of goods through regional ports. It also tends to bring in staff, customers and others from Latin America and other world regions, helping lift business at area hotels, restaurants, nightspots and retail shops, Swindell said.
Tech headquarters also give an extra boost to Florida by spurring collaboration with local universities and local tech efforts for business, government and nonprofits, say backers of eMerge Americas.
Story tags » Microsoft

MORE HBJ HEADLINES

CALENDAR

Share your comments: Log in using your HeraldNet account or your Facebook, Twitter or Disqus profile. Comments that violate the rules are subject to removal. Please see our terms of use. Please note that you must verify your email address for your comments to appear.

You are logged in using your HeraldNet ID. Click here to update your profile. | Log out.

Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.

comments powered by Disqus

Market roundup