Mayumi Negishi| Wsj

Microsoft Corp. MSFT -1.33%, the world’s largest software maker, is enlarging capacity for its Windows Azure cloud computing services for Japanese businesses, betting on growing corporate IT spending in the country. “Opportunity in Japan for growth and innovation we find incredible.

Japan is our second largest subsidiary and I have a lot of optimism about our process here in Japan,” Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer told reporters during a news conference.

He cited an IDC estimate that the market for Japan’s cloud computing services will be $3.5 billion by 2017.

Ballmer was in Japan to visit product and service development partners, as the company adds to its data centers and infrastructure to expand cloud capacity.

Microsoft, which competes with Amazon Google GOOG -0.75%, and CRM -0.20% in cloud services, is betting on Azure and its Internet-based business programs to propel growth amid a slump in personal computer shipments.

“People used to ask, isn’t Microsoft making a data center in Japan? And they would say this was an example of foreign companies passing Japan by [for the China market]. But we are now fully ready to meet the needs of our customers in Japan,” Microsoft Japan President Yasuyuki Higuchi said.


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