While the dismal U.S. economy and the thought of catching H1N1 "Swine Flu" virus may have kept attendence at Tech Ed 2009 in Los Angeles last week to a minimum, it didn't prevent some Microsoft executives from traveling the world to extoll the virtues of Microsoft's upcoming products and services. Such is the case with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who flew to Hyderabad, India to give the keynote at Tech Ed India last week.

While it isn't unusual for Microsoft executives to skip a North American Tech Ed for other venues, Ballmer's decision to attend Tech Ed India speaks volumes about where Microsoft expects the lion's share of growth to come in the future for its products and services. Not only is India a rapidly growing market for Microsoft's wares, but the country is also becoming an integral part of Microsoft's product development efforts. (In the following YouTube video clip, Ballmer answers why he chose to attend Tech Ed India rather than Tech Ed in Los Angeles.)

Microsoft's investment in India has soared in recent years, with billions of dollars flowing into India to support the development of the Microsoft India Development Center (MSIDC) in Hyderabad. Microsoft launched the MSIDC in 1998, and it has quickly grown to become one of the largest product development and research hubs for Microsoft in the world, and now employs more than 1500 employees. According to a page about the 54-acre Hyderabad campus on the MSIDC website, the MSIDC has "has contributed to the filing of 220 patents by Microsoft Corp in the last four years and also received the Top Innovator Award from Dataquest in 2006. MSIDC is now building deep missions in each of its 20 plus focus areas which span across all six Microsoft businesses."

Microsoft isn't alone in investing heavily in India, as blue chip America tech firms like Cisco, VMware, and Intel have opened development offices there as well. India boasts a highly-educated workforce, competitive labor costs, and a robust national economy that seems to be weathering the current global economic slump better than many other countries. India's annual GDP growth has been roughly double that of the U.S. for several years, and many experts predict that India will become an increasingly lucrative market for U.S. technology firms eager to sell their wares into a booming economy.

Microsoft didn't respond to our request for a transcript of Ballmer's TechEd India keynote by press time, but we've embedded some YouTube clips showing portions of his Tech Ed India keynote speech below.

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