Why You’ll Actually Want to Use Microsoft’s New Web Browser

30 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

India will be a tough market for Windows 10, specially with enterprise users, say analysts.

As the world awaits the Wednesday launch of Windows 10 operating system by Microsoft, with which its Indian-born chief executive Satya Nadella wants to power a billion devices in a few years, its potential efficacy in India has evoked mixed response among analysts.

While some feel it may not be a super hit, despite a free update for those with versions above Windows 7, others say it will prove more of use on devices other than personal computers, like smartphones, tablets and other handhelds. His visit came just days after the conclusion of the US-sponsored Global Entrepreneurship Summit and a state visit by president Barack Obama, where he hailed technology for “changing the way Africa is doing business.” Nadella’s choice seems a strange one in some respects.

With Windows 8, Microsoft moved too fast into the future by introducing a lot of tablet-focused details and designs that alienated its core keyboard-and-mouse users. Not everyone thinks Kenya’s so-called “Silicon Savannah” is poised for a revolution. “The technology opportunity has been overblown in the international media,” David Loew, a manager at Open Capital Advisors, an advisory consultancy in Nairobi told Techcrunch this week. Nevertheless, Windows 10 will also help those with pirated versions of Microsoft operating systems to migrate to an authentic version, making room for a wide range of applications to choose from. “At the enterprise level, adoption will vary. Windows 10 fixes many of those mistakes but still manages to incorporate enough new touches to plot a clear course to the more mobile, touchscreen-based future.

That makes the best of Microsoft’s uniquely tricky position: It needs to design a system that appeases modern consumers who want changes and upgrades quickly, while still pleasing its business users who tend to be a bit more conservative when it comes to new systems. Startups are often short on cash: A survey last year of more than 230 Kenyan startups found that 70% of them were not earning enough to maintain their business and living expenses and less than 9% (pdf, p. 48) got venture-capital funding last year. It is also about security, compatibility and manageability,” said Vishal Tripathi, research director at Gartner India. “Organisations use legacy- and custom-based applications than regular plug-and-play software.

Microsoft took the bold — and ultimately wrong — step of wiping this familiar feature out of existence in Windows 8 in favor of a full-screen grid of apps designed to be touchscreen friendly. However, local entrepreneurs say that new mobile- and internet-focused businesses are now beginning to hit their stride, taking advantage of cheap internet, a growing pool of talent, and consumers’ increasing trust in new internet and mobile-phone based services, thanks to the ubiquity of the mobile money transfer system, M-Pesa. “It’s a bit easier now,” says Francis Gesora, a co-founder of Book Now, a website for buying tickets for long-distance buses across East Africa. (He calls it “the Kayak for buses,” referring to the flight booking site.) “All of this makes it easier to get started,” says Michael Nguru, the company’s other co-founder. Others include a solar powered pack for rural homes; a digitized reporting system for hospitals, called ZiDi, which collects data for public-health researchers to analyze; an app for data collection, aimed at NGOs; and another app for doctors to communicate with their patients. “ICT is a major pillar of the future of Kenya,” says Geoffrey Ndungu, who works on ZiDi. Those that recently migrated to Windows 7 will not move away too quickly, while others will wait and watch,” Tripathi told IANS According to Prasanto K.

But users are able to look at all of their programs, access the settings menu and pin things to the Start Menu or task bar — just as they were able to in older versions of Windows. According to a McKinsey study, the information and communication sector contributed 2.9% of Kenya’s GDP in 2012—one of the highest rates in Africa, where the average was 1 .1% (though a different estimate puts the Kenya figure as high as 12.1% in 2013). Roy, a noted technology writer and chief editor of Trivone, a media and digital services company, Windows is an overhaul of the previous version that had flopped.

Similarly, a major complaint I had about Windows 8 was that it had apps that were purpose-built for the new system that took up the whole screen, making it jarring to jump between newer programs and traditional ones. High mobile-phone penetration, fast adoption of smartphones—by 2020, Sub-Saharan Africa will be home to an estimated half a billion smartphone users—and the expansion of the middle class is prompting companies like Microsoft to focus on the region. But getting enterprises to upgrade to it will be near-impossible. “This apart, PC sales are also weak and Windows users don’t upgrade the way Mac OS users (or iOS users) do when a new OS is launched.

Another analyst, Kiran Kumar of IDC, said India has an installed base of 55-60 million personal computers, out of which some 55 percent are with individual consumers while the remaining are with businesses and institutions. “An increase of even 1.5-2 percent in PC volumes will mean around 10 million additional volumes. I can say this: In the week or so I spent with the system on a Surface Pro 3 provided by Microsoft for review, I wasn’t tempted to download other browsers. This is true globally and more so in India, because enterprises are reluctant to upgrade,” said Roy, adding, as stability is the main criteria, may will hold on to ageing Windows 7 or even the obsolete, 13-year-old Windows XP. “It’s next to impossible to get a large enterprise to upgrade Windows, or even to agree to buy hardware with the latest version of Windows within the same year of a new version’s launch,” Roy said. “By offering Windows 10 free, Microsoft is attempting to compete with Apple, Samsung and Sony in the tablets and smartphones segment where they use iOS and Andriod OS, developed by Google,” said Siva Kumar, a software engineer in Bengaluru. “With more users shifting to tablets and smartphones for their mobility and convenience, Microsoft is trying to catch up with peers with its Lumia, which it acquired from Nokia post its takeover,” he added. “The world today is very different from the one in which Windows grew up.

The tension between the desire for agility versus stability poses a huge challenge for IT Pros,” Microsoft said. “The new Windows must be built from the ground-up for a mobile-first, cloud-first world. It’s the type of feature that you may not have known you wanted, but could get very useful over time if you want to quickly draw someone’s attention to a particular portion of a Web page. Stating that it will also target devices that are 10 feet away, use touch, or a pen, or even gestures, besides the traditional mouse or keyboards, Microsoft said Windows 10 is not about one user interface but one product family, tailored for every device.

Cortana — if you use her — is constantly updating you on your schedule and serving up news and other information based on your own preferences and other Microsoft services you use. The software can also let you know if there’s traffic on the way to your next meeting or set reminders based on the time, your location or even specific people. Cortana has the potential to become very useful: Microsoft even talked to real-life personal assistants as it designed Cortana to figure out the best way to pull up relevant information. There are enough new features to tempt you even if you aren’t that into the fancy voice-controlled stuff, such as better search features and an overall better browser.

Microsoft has said that this is essentially the “last Windows,” in the sense that from Windows 10 on, the tech giant will be releasing smaller upgrades more often — something Apple already does — to keep its system fresher for longer. It’s familiar enough so that most people will probably feel comfortable upgrading, with a sprinkling of new user-centric features that shows Microsoft’s eyes are on the future. Windows 10 has clearly been designed with that thought in mind — whether it’s enough to convince people to love their Windows PCs remains to be seen.

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