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Written by: Staff

HONG KONG, Feb 24 (Reuters) Microsoft Corp., the world's biggest software firm, said it aims to boost Asian revenue outside of China and Japan by a double-digit percentage rate over each of the next three years.

Oliver Roll, the company's Asia-Pacific strategy and marketing chief, also reaffirmed that the company was committed to South Korea despite having run afoul of regulators there.

Information technology spending in the region has been projected to grow an average of 9 per cent over each of the next three years, but Roll said Microsoft should beat the market.

Microsoft's Asia-Pacific region excludes China and Japan but includes Australia and New Zealand. The U.S. firm does not break down its revenues by region.

Microsoft has plans to invest billions of dollars in the region, which executives say yields 5 per cent of overall profit but is hotly contested by the company's closest rivals, SAP A.G. and Oracle Corp.

''Our revenue growth will be higher than the IT spending growth.

That means our revenue growth will be double-digit or more,'' Roll said in an interview late on Thursday in Hong Kong.

''India and China are in absolute terms the biggest, however, we invest in relative terms hugely in all of the markets.'' The company said in December it would invest $1.7 billion in India over the next three years.

In contrast to those who predict a slowdown in the pace at which big enterprises adopt new technology, Roll predicted there would be strong growth in software use among large corporations as well as small and medium-sized businesses in Asia.

''I still see huge growth in enterprise computing,'' he argued.

''In the next 10 years, we will get more innovation for enterprise computing than we have in the last 25 years.'' NO PULLOUT Roll said Microsoft remained committed to the South Korean market and reiterated that it would not pull its Windows product from the country despite weathering accusations of unfair trade practices from antitrust authorities.

On Friday Microsoft launched its next-generation video game console Xbox 360 in South Korea, the second country in the region to see the eagerly awaited system, after Japan.

After losing an anti-monopoly case, the company was ordered in December to separate its instant messaging service from its Windows operating system software, and allow rival products onto its system in South Korea.

Competition authorities also decided initially to fine Microsoft $32 million, saying it had violated fair trade laws.

Microsoft had threatened to withdraw Windows from South Korea if it was ordered to redesign the system for the market.

But Roll said on Thursday the Fair Trade Commission would make a final decision on that case in about a week or so.

''We will appeal. We are waiting for the formal announcement before we decide what to do,'' Roll said.

''We are very committed to Korea.'' REUTERS SD PC1804

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