Microsoft and Google executives have just announced their intention to integrate Arabic more fully into their internet and technology systems. They are predicting that this will signal the growth of internet use among the Arab world and it will become a wealth of new information for the region.
Both companies are eyeing the Arab-speaking world as a key strategic market – with the Arab internet use since 2000 growing faster than any other region in the world.
Craig Mundie, the chief research and strategy officer of Microsoft, said that a couple of years ago he had talks with Microsoft’s Chief Executive Officer and that at the time they had both agreed that Arabic was definitely going to become an increasingly important language for the industry.
At present Arabic language content is less than 1% of overall internet content despite the fact that 5% of the world’s population currently uses the language. Wikipedias Arabic portal, for instance carries fewer words on it than its Catalan site.
Whilst the Arabs regions online spending has increased from just $38 Millions US Dollars in 2007 to circa $90 Million dollars in 2009, this amount is tiny compared for example to the UK, which spent a staggering $5.3 Billion dollars in 2009.
Google is obviously keen to increase internet adoption and its regional Marketing manager has alluded that plans are afoot to facilitate this as much as possible
Craig Mundie went on to say that there is a lot of Arabic content available on the internet but much of it is not well structured and there is very little in the way of professional and business sites at the present time. He also said that Microsoft hope to change this in the coming months and is in the process of working on an ambitious new plan.Andrew Reid, Staff Writer, Gulf Jobs Market News