Microsoft has confirmed that it is to set up a new centre for research and development at its Dublin operation, creating up to 100 jobs over two years.

The announcement was made by Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and the company's European CEO Jean-Philippe Courtois at an event celebrating Microsoft's 20th anniversary in Ireland.

The jobs announcement is seen as significant because it will bring highly valued R&D jobs to Microsoft's Sandyford facility for the first time.

The Taoiseach welcomed the announcement, saying the investment was important in the light of increased competition for this type of project.

The Microsoft plant in Sandyford already has an operations centre, a product development division and a sales and services centre employing 1,200 people.

Developers at the new centre will be involved in designing and developing components for the next release of Microsoft's Windows operating system, code named Longhorn.