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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Microsoft launches new OS locally

Microsoft launches new OS locally

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Microsoft’s country head Pily Wong says Windows 7 is better suited to the Cambodian market than its predecessor.

Windows 7 will run more smoothly than much-derided Vista, but Microsoft’s country head anticipates that counterfeiting will eat into potential revenues from launch of operating system

American software giant Microsoft Corporation launched its new computer operating system, Windows 7, in the Kingdom on Saturday, but was cautious about the release’s potential domestic success.

Microsoft’s Cambodia country manager, Pily Wong, said he did not anticipate robust sales immediately, pointing to counterfeiting of computer programs as the company’s primary barrier to business.

“The counterfeiting problem is everywhere in the industry here, not just Microsoft,” he said. “Our concern is really about how we can continue to achieve payoff, how can we continue to innovate, with this problem.”

Wong said the company’s relatively minor presence domestically was a direct result of losses suffered from piracy.

As a result, instead of entering all guns blazing, the company intends to take a a longer-term view to its operations in the Kingdom, he said. “Cambodia is a small market, and we plan to help this market grow and develop, and our revenue will grow along with it.”

Though the company blames illegal copies for its slow domestic sales, Microsoft is also working to overcome criticism aimed at the poor quality of its previous operating system, Windows Vista, which Wong admitted had not met expectations.

He said the company’s mistake was adding too many features, making the software too complex to handle for both older computers and the less powerful but increasingly popular “netbook” computers.

Because Cambodians generally use older, slower computers compared with users in most international markets, the smoother-running, more efficient Windows 7 operating system is much better matched to local conditions, Wong said.

He anticipated that 60 to 70 percent of the market would make the switch to Windows 7 from earlier versions of the operating system.

A spokeswoman for PTC Computers, a major computer vendor in Cambodia, said the company planned to offer Windows 7 to customers on request, but that its popularity in the marketplace remained to be tested.

Sayon Chhoet, a sales representative at Anana Computer said it was difficult to predict potential sales in Cambodia. “It all depends if people make the switch from Vista,” he said.

Microsoft belongs to the Unicode Consortium, a group working to standardise encoding of characters, including alphabets such as Khmer.

Although the Khmer script has been finalised, Wong said Microsoft has no plans to incorporate Unicode into its products for local release unless it receives either government financing or assistance in preventing piracy.

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