Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer on Thursday said the U.S.-based software giant was betting big on cloud computing and creating innovative software for smart-devices, which would fuel its future growth. He also disclosed that Microsoft was working with mobile phone-maker Nokia to develop “next generation” mobile devices.

“You have to build compelling new experiences. The cloud would leverage Internet as a programming surface…this cloud computing phenomenon will drive growth by enabling businesses to use IT more productively,” Mr. Ballmer said at the ‘Cloud Summit: enabling inclusive innovation', jointly organised by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Microsoft.

Stating that the ‘Office 365 Cloud' service would be launched next month, Mr. Ballmer said cloud computing has a huge potential as it would create three-lakh jobs in India alone.

Pointing out that India was a “priority market” for Microsoft, he said: “Cloud computing will enable the use of IT more productively and it is imperative that India which is a major developer of computer programmes makes use of this technology.”

Predicting a future with more and more miniature devices that are powerful and more capable, the Microsoft CEO said: “Our partnership with Nokia is an important step forward. The key there is not only to innovate on software, which we will work together over time, but also work on next-generation hardware innovations with them.” Earlier this year, Microsoft and Nokia announced the formation of a “broad strategic partnership that would use their complementary strengths and expertise to create a new global mobile ecosystem”.

In the partnership, Nokia will contribute its expertise on hardware design, language support, and help bring Windows Phone to a wide range of price points, market segments and geographies.