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Feb 15, 2018

Microsoft pours money into fast-growing Brazil as demand booms

Microsoft

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Microsoft is hitting the gas in Brazil.

"Investments in the country are only going up," country manager Paula Bellizia said in an interview at Microsoft Corp.’s Sao Paulo office. "The appetite of companies of all sizes for cloud services in Brazil is giant."

The optimism comes after tough years for the biggest economy in Latin America, with growth touching its lowest point in history. Business for Microsoft, when it came, was in the form of "How can we cut costs?" during that time, Bellizia said. Now, it’s "How can we innovate?"

In its fiscal third quarter ended in September, Microsoft said it was seeing signs of improvement and stability in Brazil, where the company had reported "softness" and a challenging economic picture 15 months prior.

In a sign of the faith the Redmond, Washington-based company has in Brazil, as of Feb. 19, it will start doing business in the local currency instead of dollars, ending an almost three-decade-old practice.

"We are now assuming the risks of volatility associated with the real," Bellizia said.

The cloud business is growing at a rate of about 40 per cent in Brazil, she said. Traditional PC demand is also coming back, driving sales of Office software.

Microsoft isn’t the only player in town going after cloud business. Amazon.com Inc. has also been expanding in Brazil, through electronics and housewares but also in the cloud, a business it dominates in the U.S.

--With assistance from Dina Bass