ICL's alliance with Microsoft will create 1,000 new jobs

THE COMPUTER services group ICL yesterday unveiled a worldwide strategic alliance with Microsoft, the US software behemoth, which is expected to bring in revenues of pounds 500m over the next three years and create 1,000 new jobs.

As part of the alliance ICL, with support from Microsoft, plans to open seven new centres around the world and train more than 4,000 staff to deliver the services.

The two companies will develop a new breed of "consumer focused" IT systems, based on Microsoft's Windows NT operating system, which will be targeted at four key market areas: retail, government, education and major companies.

Examples of new projects include online shopping, putting schools on the internet, distance learning and installing kiosk systems that provide access to government information.

Keith Todd, ICL's chief executive, said the company was already using Microsoft software to offer similar products. The company is introducing new electronic point-of-sale software for Marks & Spencer, while it is also bidding with Microsoft and Andersen Consulting, the outsourcing group, to install a new benefit payments system for the Department of Social Security.

Financial details of the deal were not disclosed, though Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's executive vice-president in charge of sales and support, said the US group was investing "tens of millions of dollars" in the project.

Most of that funding will go towards retraining staff to use Microsoft software, which ICL said would be the largest commercial IT training programme in Europe. Keith Todd, ICL's chief executive, said the company would take on 1,000 new staff across Europe, about half of which were expected to be in the UK.

He added that some staff would be skilled software engineers. However, he said the company would also be hiring unskilled workers, and planned to find at least 50 people through the government's welfare to work scheme.

Three of the seven new centres will be located in the UK, in Bracknell, Manchester and Belfast. Others will be opened in Stockholm in Sweden, Katowice in Poland, and Redmond and Wake Forest in the US.

Mr Todd said that using the Microsoft platform would allow ICL to offer flexibility and value for money to its customer base. He said the company would continue to support other operating systems, but that all new products would be based on Windows NT. In the past, ICL has offered products based on the Unix system, among others.

Analysts said the move was a boost for ICL's plans to float on the London Stock Exchange in the year 2000. However, they suggested the costs of retraining staff would initially depress ICL's profits.

Last year, the group made its first profit in years, reporting a pounds 32.5m operating profit on revenues of pounds 2.48bn.

Mr Todd said it was hard to determine whether the promised extra pounds 500m of revenues would not simply replace projects that ICL would have won anyway. However, he said he expected the company to continue to grow "ahead of the market rate."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Property
pets
Arts and Entertainment
tvGame of Thrones season 5 ep 4, review - WARNING: contains major spoiliers!
Arts and Entertainment
tvThe C-Word, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Sport
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
News
Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn are breaking up after nearly three years together
peopleFormer couple announce separation in posts on their websites
Sport
football
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Arts and Entertainment
Haunted looks: Matthew Macfadyen and Timothy Spall star in ‘The Enfield Haunting’
tvThe Enfield Haunting, TV review
News
news
News
The Mattehorn stands reflected in Leisee lake near Sunnegga station on June 30, 2013 near Zermatt, Switzerland
news
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Senior SEO Executive

£24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior SEO Executive is requi...

Recruitment Genius: Online Customer Service Administrator

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Online customer Service Admi...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Marketing Executive

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This global, industry leading, ...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living