Bhaskar Pramanik, the chairman of Microsoft India says that the response from Indian corporates on the newly launched Windows 8 has been quite encouraging. In an interview with Bibhu Ranjan Mishra, he also says Windows 8 is ideal for 'bring your own device’ programme by various corporate since it is highly secured. Excerpts from an edited interview…
How is the response to Windows 8 in India?
The response has been tremendous. Our CEO Steve Ballmer had earlier announced that in the first four days after the launch, we had seen about 4 million downloads globally. It is obviously a much faster adoption when compared with earlier generations of Windows. We are seeing footfalls in malls and stores.
How many large enterprise customers you have signed in India so far?
We have an enterprise agreement with most of the enterprise customers which means that they can migrate to the newer version automatically. I think what is important is that who among them are going to be the earlier ones to start deploying applications as a line of business on Windows 8. They are very excited about is the fact that they can change the look and feel on Windows 8. A lot of our enterprise customers are actually moving towards it.
How easy it is to migrate to Windows 8?
Whatever existing applications one may be having, they will run as it is on Windows 8. So there is no problem from that perspective. But if you want to take an existing application and convert it live in order to get the true look and feel of Windows 8, we have created multiple tolls which enable the transition faster.
How many applications you have in Windows 8 app store which have been developed by Indian developers?
We have over 300 India specific applications. We can’t share the number of applications developed by Indian developers.
What is so unique about Windows 8 app store? Your competing platforms have got many more applications.
I don’t think that the issue is how many applications you have. It’s meaningless beyond a certain number. You might have several million applications but the consumers may not even get an opportunity in their lifetime even to look at many of those apps. I think it is important to ensure that you have a variety of apps which cater to practical needs of the consumers. The applications we offer cater to all the requirements a consumer may have in their daily lives.
You had earlier said that Windows 8 can empower the government in India. How it is going to happen?
In our app store, there is a section called government that contains applications which are government-related. In the US, we have seen consumers downloading applications which help in doing multiple government related engagements faster – for example, paying of property taxes, electricity bills etc. What a consumer needs to do is to download the application on his device and start using it. In India, this is yet to happen but we are sure that time is not far when we will start using those with the increase in e-literacy here.
There are reports that Windows 8 platform can help faster adoption of 'bring you own device (BYOD)’ programmes. Why is it so?
I think this ideal because most enterprises are very comfortable in dealing with Windows platform since it is secured and manageable. Quite frankly, most CIOs don’t like usage of Android devices by the employees under their BYOD programme because they are highly unsecured. It is because each device may be having a different version of Android which makes it difficult to manage that.