Microsoft invests in Russia's Silicon Valley

Microsoft will invest millions in a Russian version of Silicon Valley, under an agreement signed yesterday.
Chief Steve Ballmer signed a deal with Viktor Vekselberg, president of the Skolkovo Fund, to establish a software development center in the town on the outskirts of Moscow, as part of a broad range of projects designed to boost the area.
The center will cost between 180 billion rubles (€4.2 billion) and 200 billion to construct, the Sydney Morning Herald reports, citing Vekselberg.
Ballmer also agreed to conduct joint research projects with Russian universities, expand a Russian start-up fund, establish a technology test center and back the creation of a technical university in Skolkovo.
“Microsoft is committed to continuing investments that foster local IT industry development and expand growth opportunities in Russia,” Ballmer said, noting that the Skolkovo project is an important step towards “modernizing Russia’s economy.”
The project was established earlier this year with the aim of creating an environment in which tech start-ups can flourish, and forms a key part of Russian president Dmitry Medvedev’s economic strategy, Reuters said.
Vekselberg says Microsoft’s involvement will boost development of the town, noting that it will benefit from the software giant’s “huge experience,” in producing IT products and services.