FOR technology specialist Piseth Chhourm at Cambodia’s Microsoft Market Development Program, the personal computer (PC) platform has 90 percent of the marketplace and is going to remain important for business and personal use.
“From a technical point of view, I’ll always be a PC man. The main thing is it is easy to use, easy to develop the software, and it is more open,” Piseth said. He’s the man at Microsoft in Cambodia that helps people understand how to use the software.
With regard to comparisons between Macs and PCs, Piseth acknowledges that Macs are more focused on the consumer, while the Windows strategy is more focused on corporate clients.
“Mac builds the software and hardware integrated together and they ship it out. Their strategy is more focused on the consumer. With Microsoft and Windows we are more focused on the corporate business,” he said.
“The Mac is going to stay Mac and Windows is going to stay PC,” he said.
Piseth says a lot of banks, telecommunications companies and Internet Service Providers use PCs, most using Microsoft Windows, but some ISPs using Linux, a free, open-source software. For such commercial customers, Piseth says Microsoft can offer “volume licensing” discounts for software loaded on a large number of machines, and get tech support from Microsoft.
“We have designed programme licensing so the commercial sector can enjoy a lot of benefits, in terms of price and support and benefits from the Microsoft side.”
NGOs, schools and the government can get a lot of things from Microsoft, according to Piseth.
“We are here to expand to schools, NGOs, the government and the commercial sector, so they can get a lot of things from Microsoft. People think Microsoft is expensive. When you understand what we do, we provide a good solution for all these organisations. School campuses, for example, can get very low prices.”
In order to be able to use all the software that has been developed on the Windows platform, many Macs have their hard drives partitioned and have Windows ready to use when they need it – for things like database programmes.
“I ask a lot of people – why do you buy a Mac and use Windows? Mac looks good and is thinner, but Windows is easy to use,” Piseth said, adding that most Macs running Windows are using pirated copies.
For Microsoft the piracy, or illegal copying and distribution of software such as the popular but increasingly outdated XP operating system, is a double-edged sword. On the one hand people get to use computers without paying Microsoft anything, but on the other hand, they are learning to use Microsoft products.
Microsoft’s deputy country manager Tony Seng says software piracy is rampant in Cambodia because there’s no government enforcement of intellectual property law.
“If there is no enforcement from the government authority, there will be no way to reduce the percentage of the piracy in this market,” Seng said.
Microsoft encourages people to buy licensed copies of the software because they can get better support and greater security.
“The companies have to think about the performance, security and the IPR Law,” he said.
The very popular Windows XP was released by Microsoft in August, 2001, and remains widely in use, especially pirated versions, lasting longer than Microsoft expected it to.
Windows XP was succeeded by Windows Vista in late 2006, but never became as popular as XP, probably because it was slower running and had a lot of pop-up windows demanding information from the user.
The current Windows operating system, Windows 7, was released in late 2009 and is now widely available with new PCs.
“Windows 7 doesn’t ask you too many questions,” Piseth says.
“XP works on the old hardware. XP marked the transformation from Windows 2000, with a much different user interface. With XP we had the era of the new graphic user interface.
“In Windows 7 we focus on the new user experience, security. In the old hardware, everything was big. The change is in the capacity in the memory performance and the memory usage. The size of the hardware has also changed. It has gotten smaller and thinner.”
One of the things a PC buyer can do, according to Piseth, is choose the Intel processor core in the machine they buy – based on the kind of work they do. “If they want normal usage, I recommend Coe I3. If they do more multi-tasking, I recommend core I5, and if they play games, and need a lot of processing, I recommend core I7.”
Asked to comment on the noticeable decline in the use of desktop computers and a migration to laptop usage, Piseth says desktops won’t go away because their speeds can be greater than laptops which have to be more shock-proof.
“For laptops, the hard drives are the slow points,” he said. “Desktops cannot go away because still many of the jobs have to be done fast.”
Nevertheless, PC sellers agree, sales of desktops have declined sharply in favour of laptops.
“Similarly, while mobile technology is changing the way people connect to the internet, it cannot replace corporate connectivity to high speed fibre optic lines,” Piseth says.
“Mobile technology cannot replace the corporate. It is more stable and much more responsible for the ISP. For the ISP that will connect directly to the corporate ISP via fibre optics, they can help you immediately when you have a problem.”
The next Microsoft operating system on the horizon is codenamed Windows 8, scheduled to be released some time in 2012. The new operating system has a different start screen which includes “live application tiles”.
According to Microsoft, every computer that runs Windows 7 will be able to run Windows 8.