Microsoft is to add 200 jobs to its Inside Sales division in Dublin, which will bring its number of employees here to 2,000. In February the company announced Dublin as the base for its Inside Sales offices for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. These new jobs come in addition to the 500 new hires that were announced at that time.

Inside Sales is a considerable step up from the basic 'telesales' of the past and, according to Microsoft Ireland managing director Cathriona Hallahan, is a much smarter approach to finding customers. "Inside sales is a sales function that is using both technical information and data to bring solutions to customers," she said. The Inside Sales staff are "very external customer focused, they're looking at the problems that each of our customers have in their business or industry, and they're coming up with how technology can build solutions for them, not just for today but for the future."

Having only announced 500 inside sales jobs in February, Ms Hallahan says that 400 have already been filled - and demand has led them to expand the office even further. Of those hires there is a 50/50 split between people already based in Ireland and those coming from abroad. Ms Hallahan says the company has had "great success" in being able to attract talent from abroad.

But the company is still raising issues around areas like the cost of living, which can be problematic for those moving from overseas. "We have been talking to Government about cost of living, about housing, rental cost because that is becoming a challenge for some of our employees who are trying to find accommodation once they get here," Ms Hallahan said. Those that do join Microsoft's sales team will find themselves in the environs of the company's new 35,000sqm campus in Dublin's Leopardstown, which has cost the company €134m to build and fit out. 

Like many tech firms, Microsoft also operates a number of data centres around Ireland - meaning it is no stranger to undertaking large projects in the State. And while there is currently a lot of focus on the planning roadblocks facing Apple's Athenry data centre, Ms Hallahan says they have so far been able to manage the challenges encountered when working on such developments. "We've had multiple builds on data centres, we were one of the first companies in 2005 to announce Ireland as our base for EMEA data centres," she said. "I have to say the collaboration with planners has worked quite well, we haven't had any delays in the build-outs we've done so far. I do think it's about industry collaboration - there's lots of areas, especially in data centres, that we look at - not just planning but also energy and for us it's been about partnering with the likes of EirGrid and others to look at our future demand and to be able to anticipate what that would look like."

Apple is also back in the news this week in relation to its tax affairs, while Amazon was yesterday hit with a €250m tax bill over its base in Luxembourg. Ms Hallahan said Microsoft was always aware of the issue of taxation and the company worked hard to ensure it was doing what it needed to around the world. "We're over 30 years here in Ireland, we're a 40 year old company," she said. "We have a presence in all countries across the globe, so we've been working really hard making sure we are fully compliant with the tax legislation in every country that we have a presence in and that's the case here in Ireland as well."

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