Source Pravda.Ru

Microsoft opened regional center in Serbian capital, Belgrade

Microsoft Corp. on Tuesday opened a regional center in the Serbian capital for developing software that can recognize handwriting scribbled on a screen and convert it into plain text.

The center was the fifth of its kind outside the United States, said Dejan Cvetkovic, Microsoft's representative in Belgrade. The U.S. software giant has invested US$20 million (Ђ17 million) so far in Serbia, Cvetkovic said, expressing hope investments would double next year.

After toppling autocratic ex-president Slobodan Milosevic in 2000, Serbia's new pro-democracy leaders invited Microsoft to provide financing and expertise for Serbian government projects in 2001. Also, Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft helped computerize the Balkan republic's public service systems, the AP says.

At the ceremony launching the new center, Serbian deputy prime minister Miroljub Labus said the occasion reflected Microsoft's interest in continuing to establish a presence here.

U.S. Ambassador Michael Polt said the opening of the Microsoft center was a "show of confidence of international investors" in Serbia.

The center manager, Bodin Dresevic, said it would focus on software programs for handwriting recognition for Tablet PCs and strive to developing a program for recognition of the Serbian language. The center would shortly advertise job openings and hire computer experts from Serbia, he said.

T.E.