Jigar Mehta’s WebBlog

May 7, 2007

Vista too expensive for developing countries..

Filed under: Uncategorized — jigarme @ 1:49 am

ArsTechnica says,

According to Allan Krans, an analyst at the market research firm Technology Business Research, Windows Vista faces several difficulties in gaining widespread adoption in developing nations. Krans said that the higher resource requirements of Windows Vista compared to Windows XP may be prohibitive for users in these countries, who cannot afford to upgrade their older computers in order to run the new operating system smoothly. The price tag involved in legally upgrading the operating system is also an issue.

Krans believes that most users in countries such as China have chosen either to stick with Windows XP, download pirated versions of Windows Vista, or experiment with free alternatives such as Linux. Microsoft has added more stringent anti-piracy checks in Vista, but this has not stopped cracked versions from circulating in China.

The extent of the piracy problem was described in a Japanese press report that claimed only 244 legitimate copies of Windows Vista had been sold in China in the first two weeks following its release. Microsoft has denied the report’s legitimacy, but it is clear that selling legal copies of the new OS in China is an uphill battle.

Allegedly, Steve Ballmer has a giant world map in his office that shows how much money Microsoft earns, on average, in every region in the world, and he works tirelessly to improve those numbers. While the story is probably apocryphal (it does have that certain James Bond supervillain ring to it), it does illustrate that Microsoft is concerned with making sure Windows gains as large a global reach as possible. Basic economic theory teaches that a company should try and segment the market as much as possible to maximize profits, which perhaps explains the explosion in the number of versions of Windows Vista.

Selling Vista globally, however, would normally require that the price of the operating system be adjusted to reflect that country’s economic level. So far, Microsoft hasn’t made an effort to do this: the price of Vista in the Philippines, for example, was set at S$340.95 (US$216.92) for the Home Basic version. However, Microsoft is pinning its hopes instead on the “Starter Edition” of Windows, which is sold for a much lower price but is limited in functionality. The company also hopes to gain traction with its $3 software bundles, but that deal is only for governments willing to pick up the tab. 

So far, the acceptance of Windows XP Starter Edition has been low, mostly because of its extreme limitations (only three applications can be run simultaneously, and the highest resolution supported is 800×600). Microsoft is changing that by relaxing some of these restrictions with Windows Vista Starter Edition.

Windows Vista Starter Edition will only be available for retail or OEM purchase in certain countries, and Microsoft isn’t revealing the exact price, which will vary depending on the country. A typical price for a system bundled with Vista SE in South Africa is about 4,000 rand, or approximately US$572.

But, we can not stay stucked right? We have to move forward. Vista is amazing revolution in computer industries. Yes, its somewhat ahead of time (in terms, that required hardware is still somewhat costly right now!), But I am sure, it will be worth it. And Microsoft will do something for developing countries.

Stay tuned.. Wave

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