Microsoft to open cloud computing center in Taiwan

The center is aimed at boosting hardware development around cloud computing

Microsoft celebrated its 20th year in Taiwan by agreeing to open a joint cloud computing center with the island's economics ministry.

The center will be a first for Microsoft in Asia. It aims to give Taiwanese computer makers a place to test out new hardware and software made to work with Microsoft products, including new cloud computing applications and services, a joint statement said.

Companies in Taiwan have already started developing new hardware for the cloud.

Quanta Computer, the world's largest contract notebook computer manufacturer, plans to launch its first cloud computing products next year, including thin clients and other devices.

The company has been working with the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to develop new cloud computing and mobile technologies, a partnership called Project T-Party.

Few other details of the new Microsoft center were immediately available. There was no information on where the center will be built, how many engineers will work there nor the size of the investment.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer praised Taiwan and said the cloud computing center is aimed at continuing the strong relationship between Microsoft and Taiwanese companies built over the past 20 years.

"We wouldn't have low-cost, high-availability computing today if it wasn't for companies here," he said.

Taiwanese telecommunications company Chunghwa Telecom also signed on with Microsoft on Wednesday to adopt the Windows Azure cloud services operating system, and to offer cloud services such as Microsoft Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Office Live Meeting and Office Communications Online.

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