Microsoft will step up its investments in Asia over the next two years as part of a bid to strengthen its relationship with partners and corporate customers in the area of mission-critical technologies."Over the next two years, we\u2019re going to invest about [US]$14 million in resources and facilities," said Chris Sharp, Microsoft\u2019s Asia-Pacific general manager of server and tools products, during a phone interview.As part of these investments, Microsoft will assign 100 technical specialists to work with customers and independent software vendors on mission-critical software products, including Windows 2003 Server and SQL Server 2005. The company also plans to open two technology incubation centers in Seoul and Bangalore, India."These technology centers are there to showcase the capabilities of server technology and help people port their applications to mission-critical hardware," Sharp said.Microsoft\u2019s planned investments in Asia will boost the effectiveness of the company\u2019s enterprise sales team in Asia, said Dane Anderson, head of research at Springboard Research.From a technology standpoint, Microsoft\u2019s products are competitive with offerings from rival vendors, but the sales cycle for enterprise products is longer and more involved than for sales of desktop operating systems or application suites, Anderson said. "These investments help to address that," he said.Customers that have an established relationship also expect to benefit from the added investment and new technology centers."We think it\u2019s pretty good for us," said James Kang, chief information officer of NTUC Income Insurance Cooperative, noting that the incubation centers are available to help his company run simulations and test new applications.-Sumner Lemon, IDG News Service (Singapore Bureau)Related Link:\n\nMicrosoft Vista, Office 2007 Biz Launch Kicks Off in AsiaCheck out our CIO News Alerts and Tech Informer pages for more updated news coverage.