Microsoft France is a subsidiary of Microsoft Corporation set up in 1983 and employing 1,300 people, most of whom work in the Paris Region.
The Microsoft brand and its products are certainly very well known in France, but despite having been in business for 25 years, its French company is still off the radar for most people. For several years now, it has been recruiting strongly and developing its own ecosystem by surrounding itself with a network of some 10,000 partners that either sell or develop its software; they include computer service providers, resellers, consultants, training centers and software publishers. Since innovation is the bedrock of its dynamic business model, Microsoft has launched its Idées program of support for start-up companies in the digital industries. The company is also seeking to identify ways of promoting its initiatives and extending its network... which is why it has taken the decision to bring all its employees together, at Issy-les-Moulineaux in March 2009. It also plans to open a European Technology Center where around 100 highly qualified engineers will research and develop innovative new Internet search engines.
The role played by the Paris Region Economic Development Agency (PREDA)
The Agency is supporting Microsoft with its specialist knowledge of the Paris Region economy to identify very small businesses that could benefit from the Idées program. It also promotes contact between businesses based in the Paris region and major corporates like Microsoft through the International Companies Forum and its 200 professional get-togethers. The Agency, which contributed to choosing the location of the Microsoft European Technology Center in the Paris Region, was able to demonstrate all the strengths that the region can offer, including the concentration and diversity of research laboratories (working in mathematics, algorithms, artificial intelligence, etc.), the numbers and excellence of engineering graduate schools, competitive real estate costs and high quality transport links...
What the company has to say
The Paris region has a lot going for it as far as the digital industries are concerned: it has excellent engineering graduate schools and research facilities, expertise in content production (e.g. video gaming), first-class legal and taxation support (copyright and research tax credits) and great public services. But even that would not be enough without the network. The Paris Regional Economic Development Agency has its finger on the local pulse, and is a great partner to work with. In fact, public and private bodies do a good job in working together to promote the growth of this region.