Microsoft is planning to open a research and product development centre in Finland, according to Ari Rahkonen, managing director of Microsoft Finland. Rahkonen is excited about the project which has been his dream since he started leading Microsoft Finland’s operations in 2007. The new centre is likely to be established in cooperation with the Aalto University in Helsinki. More information about the project will be made available in June 2010.
Microsoft’s current operation in Finland is focused on sales. Rahkonen’s determination to establish the research and product development centre has involved bringing Finland’s prime minister and the heads of Aalto University to meet with Microsoft’s top executives.
Rahkonen believes that Finland has great strengths in know-how and innovation. The significance of innovation policies is understood at the highest political level in Finland and cooperation between the public and private sectors also works well in Finland, according to Rahkonen. He describes the Aalto University as a “diamond”, with no comparable institution existing in Europe as yet.
Established in 2010, the Aalto University was created from the merger of three Finnish universities: The Helsinki School of Economics, Helsinki University of Technology and The University of Art and Design Helsinki. The new university's ambitious goal is to be one of the leading institutions in the world in terms of research and education in its own specialized disciplines.