Infographic, Politics, Technology

Can Indian Optimism create newer opportunities

Its been nearly 18 months since PM Modi took the reigns of a then floundering economy spearheaded by ex-PM Manmohan Singh. Despite several shortcomings which are structural in nature related to India, one can definitely visibly see the efforts being made by the Government in various industries. One big example of the same is the PM himself visiting innovative companies of the world like Facebook, Tesla Motors etc during his recent visit to the USA. At some level, transforming India is a massive challenge given these staggering graphs. How do you actually shape the lives of 1 bn people at varied stages of their life and lead them to prosperity? How do you drive 300 mn+ people out of relative poverty and give them hope and vision for a better future? How do you remove the habit of people who have been used to live on Government doles and subsidies and get them to work more diligently? These are problems that are massive in nature but I think, the way the Government is approaching them is quite interesting in itself.

The Tech approach to solve problems – At some level, the mobile resurgence has come at the best time for the Government. PM Modi and his Mann ki Baat has been such a hit that opponents in Bihar actually asked EC for a ban on this program. With Mobile and internet becoming more popularly used by the day, PM Modi’s social media presence has actually helped in propogating their policies and programs faster than any Government has done before. Twitter and Facebook have become massive channels for the Democracy which is good to note.

However, this is just the start. To create momentum is one thing , to sustain it through thick and thin is another. China’s relative slowdown/recession has put focus on India for now as a developing nation, but this won’t last more than 6 months in my opinion. Can India sustain the optimism beyond 18 months well into 2017? That would be the true test of the policy decisions taken by the present Government.

Whats your view – is the current optimism about India truly meaningful? Write below!

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Bell-curve-shift-India
Marketing, Technology

Geekgiri – Is the bell curve moving to the right in India?

Today, we are introducing a word called Geekgiri.

geek.gi.ri

[gee-k-gi-rii]

noun

1. The practised art of acting like a geek in the perception of others either in an offline or online but public forum
2. The attempt at geek bandwagon hijacking by non-geeks  in the aftermath of post-iPad era

 

A Geekgiri example – 
An example of Geekgiri – 10 years back, there would have been no-one who would have known what a time-lapse video is. However, this morning, when I showed this video to my neighbour’s 15 year old kid, he instantly exclaimed that this is like an app on his mobile phone which takes photos every minute and then speeds it up to create a video like feel. It was brilliant! This got me thinking though, is Geekgiri, as I would like to call it, truly spreading in India?

 Is Geekgiri cool? Is Geekgiri Fashionable?

From a tech marketer’s perspective, I would think Geekgiri becoming cool and fashionable would be the best thing to happen. Imagine that you were a marketer at a big tech company like Samsung, Nokia etc . For you, a Geekgiri epidemic will rock! It would mean more early adopters, better spreading of the message for new launches and in general easier hype generation around anything that is an advancement in technology. To put things in perspective, geekgiri can actually help spread a word about say a new product like iPhone 5 or Windows Phone 8 quickly beyond the confines of the famous ‘Quora-Mangala’ or ‘Hinjewadi’ or ‘Powai’ or DLF-Phase-‘n” areas! So clearly, whichever technology company you are, Geekgiri becoming fashionable is in your interest!

From GandhiGiri to Geekgiri –

Gandhigiri happened because of the underlying social fabric in the pre-independence era. Current social fabric of the metros in India is extremely suitable for Geekgiri. Look around you – People with disposable incomes are increasing. Disposable incomes are leading to major upswings in gadget uptakes across the nation. All this is leading to India becoming a ‘not-worth-neglecting’ market for any company in the world. In fact, 2012 is a world where European tourist guides openly say that Indians are their major business generators!

Relating all this to the bell curve for technology adoption –

We all know of the Bell curve and the dreaded chasm that any technology product has to cross before it truly becomes popular.

Traditionally roughly 5-7% people in India have been considered to be early adopters or innovators ( which has been generally used as an explanation as to why no major IT / Internet product has emerged as a truly globally recognised product from India bar a few notable exceptions.

Now though, there is reason to believe that the Innovator + Early adopter percentage has nearly doubled due to incessant efforts of marketers by all the technology companies . Now, there is greater awareness than ever about different products, companies, product lines, future innovations and most importantly, about the planned launch dates. According to me, the Bell curve has decisively shifted to the right in the following manner.

This nearly reflects the US curve or the European curve . Perhaps by 2014, Indian adoption curve may become more closer to this one rather than the above figure quoted of 5-7% . But then, you never know – as more Indians adopt smartphones, the Late majority and laggards will grow at a much faster pace as well.

Overall though, much to the delight of technology companies, marketers, social networking agencies, mobile application developers and most importantly, the consumers themselves, Geekgiri is indeed in vogue! Or is it? Let us know your views here or on the facebook page

Image credit 1
(PS: On Strat.in, we have introduced a lot of Buzzwords – Datasexual , Trusketing (Trust based marketing) and so on! )

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Marketing, Strategy, Technology

Samsung Galaxy note 2 – Marketing spree overview

If there if one device that is on one huge marketing spree currently all over India, that device has to be the Galaxy note 2. After the rousing success of Galaxy note, Galaxy Note 2 obviously comes with an air of anticipation around it. And Samsung is sparing no efforts to make its flagship product known to one and all.

Lets have a quick look at the marketing aspects of Samsung Galaxy note 2.

Bigg-boss-powered-by-galaxy-note-2

1. Presence on reality shows – Bigg Boss Season 6 has just started at the right time for the product launch. Branding the show as powered by Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is a brilliant move for sure. It will surely catch mass eyeballs here.

2. Cricket world cup – Both TV and internet . Its a known fact that cricket is the best place to tap technology / phone buying audience. Nokia and Blackberry have used this strategy to good effect for so many years now. Obviously, Samsung won’t be left behind. Expect a lot of ads on TV, internet, mobile about the Note 2.

3. Internet – Samsung Galaxy note 2 being an eagerly anticipated product, is prominently featured on all top ecommerce sites – Ebay, Flipkart, Infibeam, Rediff Shopping etc. You name it and that ecommerce site features the Note 2 prominently. This kind of publicity cannot be bought! Here are the top 3 deals I could find for the Note 2 online ( as on Oct 9 )

So, are you going to buy the most marketed product of the season? Especially with the festive season approaching, a lot of peoples’ answer would be Yes! Let us know your reviews or anything about the note below!

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Business, Entertainment, Marketing, Planning, Strategy, Technology, Web

End of an era – Floppy Disk

I saw this news article on BBC News and it got so many memories back. We all are so lucky to be witnessing technology and the world around us changing so much. It seems like yesterday when I got my first computer which had a floppy disk and a CD drive. I played so many games even on MS-DOS which were actually stored on a floppy disk! A floppy disk in which I transferred programs to school from my home PC and made my school project.

floppy

On the left there is an image of a floppy disk. The simple device stored just 1,024 kilobytes of information but was so important to people. Because at that point of time even 1,024 bytes were sufficient for transfer of information but now even gigabytes don’t suffice.The first floppy disk was introduced by IBM in 1971 and it used to be read-only! After 40 years the floppy disk comes to an end and it sure seems like a new era is beginning.

CDusb-flash-driveSome of the devices which have replaced the floppy disk are CDs and USB drives. Two of the main reasons why these devices became so much more popular are storage capacity and resistance to data damage. Of course one of the reasons for their popularity was the ability to transfer movies and music. Next came DVDs and transportable HDDs and now Blu-Ray Discs. With each generation of storage we get more capacity to store information in smaller space.

ipodIt seems ironical that the company which started the slow death of Floppy Drives is the company which probably will take the storage industry to the next level – Apple! Apple was the first company which in 1998 stopped having floppy drives in its computers. Slowly Dell (2003), PC World (2007) and now Sony have also stopped providing it. iPod and iPhone store your music, your movies and a lot of your information. It also works like a hard disk and you can store everything you want on it, making all other forms of storage obsolete! Where will technology take us next? Only time will tell.

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Strategy, Web

1 Year of Strat.In-g

Yesterday I realized that Strat.In is now 1 year old! I came to realize this because of my domain name provider and hosting provider reminded me to pay up or they will shut us down. So as I paid the bills I realized the ride of Strat.In and how it has  managed to done over this year.

The year has been like a roller-coaster with many ups and downs. Well no one wants to remember bad times so here are some of the most viewed posts!

  1. Road ahead for Maruti Suzuki
  2. Disruptive Innovation in the Indian Telecom Industry by Tata DoCoMo
  3. Comparing EPL and IPL
  4. The biggest deal in global steel industry – Arcelor Mittal
  5. Hollywood – One industry to rule them all
  6. Customer retention strategy at Airtel
  7. Telecom – Airtel vs Reliance Communications
  8. Why are the Ramayana and Mahabharata so different (and make good case studies)
  9. Eradication of urban slums in India: A pipe dream?
  10. 3 Idiots – The publicity campaign

We started with a big team, we had lots of additions and then we had a lot of departures and now we have not been writing too much. Our strategy has not been perfect but we will try to make some amends.

But its not all bad! We have had 269 posts over this year, 1802 comments, and 761 tags. We have had a good number of pageviews and a lot of success on our facebook  pages and feedburner stats. Going forward we hope to continue this. Anything you particularly liked / disliked then please do let us know.

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Entrepreneurship, Politics

The Start Up Visa

USA-startup-visaIts 2010 and as we step into the next decade, Business and Technology remain the scale of measuring the overall strength of any country. Though jaw-dropping start ups keep coming forward from the dorm rooms and garages of the Silicon Valley, investors in US are worried that the  government is not doing enough to entice entrepreneurs to stay.

So the US congress is now considering what can be called as a ‘start-up Visa’. A visa for foreign born “techies” who have good ideas, so that they can stay ‘in’ US and continue working on them. This is especially valid for foreign students who drop out of school to found their own companies. It is particularly hard for them to get visas and continue in the valley, and US is aware of its losing ground if it doesn’t encourage smart brains from India and China to stay within.

The visa also aims at attracting foreign capital. So if your business plan is good enough to attract $250,000 through Venture Capital or $100,000 as angel funding, or shows prospects of creating 5-10 jobs and around $1Mn in revenue, then you are eligible and up for the visa. Such visas are already in place in Canada, UK and Australia and US knows the importance of funding the founders if it does not want to give away any advantage to one of these.
But the point to ponder upon is, if US, with all that it is, is thinking so seriously and taking steps to attract talent, imagine what steps India is going to have to take to at least retain its talent. The reforms from 1991 have provided the fuel for entrepreneurs to pick themselves up without licensing hassles, but do we have a government that is worried about start ups in India?

According to Dr Venkatraman, Indian born US based 2009-Nobel Prize winner, if India does not invest in the facilities that support long term research now, it is going to find itself 10-20 years behind in harnessing technology for better benefits.

We have one of the most, if not the most, competitive educational systems in the world. But it is also true that most of the smart brains are showing all their competitive spirit in India and Creativity outside it!

There is indeed a lot of activity going on in the start up incubators in India. Loads of VC funding and a build up of an entrepreneurial ecosystem with foundations like NEN, but we seem to miss godfathers like Andy Bechtolsheim and Mike Markkula coming ahead to mentor the Google’s or Apple’s of tomorrow.

With the Indian population all set to hit 1.5 Bn by 2020, the Indian market and economy is essentially going to piggyback on the ability of future job creators. The ecomonic reforms from 1991 have provided the fuel for entrepreneurs to pick themselves up without licensing hassles and red tape , now it is the turn for our educational reforms to pick up soon enough to catapault innovation and R&D. Are outdated rotten courses going to make way for a fast changing and flexible course systems that incorporate iphone and Android apps on the go ?

Image credits 1

PS: Click here if you wish to know more about the visa.

Click here if you think something has to be done about our educational system!

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Politics, Public Issues

Mahrashtra elections – Increasing voter turnout

PD*28211209After the general elections earlier this year, there was a huge hue and cry about voter turnout. In Mumbai, it was as low as 35% in some constituencies. A laundry-list of reasons were given- summers, holidays, heat, no leave in the private sector etc. So, the authorities are trying to address this issue by proactively taking steps to get voters at the election sectors. While it is impressive that the authorities are tackling this issue head-on, why has this issue come up in the first place? Some pretty obvious causes come to mind –

  1. Voter apathy towards politics
  2. Lack of suitable candidates
  3. Security threat (in some areas ) eg. naxal areas
  4. In some isolated cases, work schedules
  5. Registration of voter ID cards
  6. Holidaying
  7. Voter Disillusionment towards development in their area

In my opinion, the steps taken by the authorities address only partially address concerns of voters. There has to be a concerted effort to create a plan to address all of the voter concerns in order to increase voter turnout.

map_cnnFirstly, the issue of security – particularly in the naxal affected areas has to be resolved. While there cannot be any quickfire solution here, the problem needs to be resolved urgently and at a national level. Particularly symbolic was how after the recent statement by the Home minister, policemen were killed by Naxal attacks in Gachiroli district in Maharashtra. This issue needs to be solved at a national level.

Next, tackling the voter aspect of it. What India doesn’t have is an effective feedback mechanism. Perhaps use of the online medium and even more importantly, the SMS medium can be popularized. At the end of the day, while the Indian population has multiplied in 60 years post independence, the number of elected representatives has remained the same. In this, the example set by ‘twitter’ minister, Shashi Tharoor can be followed. After all, online media can act as an effective feedback tool. Essentially, improving accessibility of concerned authorities has to be a priority if voter turnout has to increase.

An often heard issue is that of lack of suitable candidates. For this, the blame goes not only with the political parties, but with the aam junta as well. What the whole nation should realise is that voter indifference and candidate quality is a vicious cycle. Only if the electorate cares about its own constituency will it elect the best candidates. And the first sign of this can be shown by going out there to vote. What the authorities can do is to impress upon the voters the importance of this issue.

Voter ID issue – In an earlier article on strat, Shubham pointed out the urgent need for a technology revolution . To quote –

What I am trying to propose is not very different from the current system. It just requires a computer and an internet connection at every polling booth (which can be a little difficult but I am sure the election commission can spend atleast this much to ensure a fairer elections). Every Voter ID card already has a unique number identified with it or associate one if need be. The person should be able to go to any voting booth in the country, show his/her voting card (or maybe just give the voter registration number) and be able to vote.

Again, its a question of using technology as an enabler. Perhaps the UID project is a step in this direction. Issues like holidaying, work schedules I feel are secondary issues, related to the key issue of voter apathy. Even the busiest corporate executive can easily take some time of work to exercise his/her fundamental right.

Overall, the problem is a bigger one than simply declaring the voting day as a public holiday. Lets hope the issue is taken up on a priority basis by the next poll date.

PS: Would like to hear from you about this issue. Write to us in the comments section. Also, if you like our posts, join our facebook fan page .

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Entertainment, Technology

Game Development Outsourcing in India

As India turns the corner towards slowly but surely becoming a developed nation, its middle class has also begun to catch on to a popular “vice” among the more developed countries- Video games.

Producer side dynamics:

A hit Bollywood thriller about a man with short-term amnesia has inspired India’s first 3D videogame, in a country where the animation and gaming industry has been slow to grow but could touch $1.3 billion this year. The PC game, based on the Hindi-language film “Ghajini,” was launched in India in January 2009 and is being marketed worldwide as well by Indian film distributor Eros International PLC.[1]

FXLabs, the pioneer behind this foray into indigenous game development, is the leading end-to-end game company in India. Founded in September 2004, FXLabs began its operations building PC based games both for the Indian market as well as the global market. In December 2007, FXLabs acquired an online game portal to expand its operations into the online casual game space. The vision of the company is to be the top developer and publisher of games for all platforms including PC, console, online casual, MMOG, and handheld gaming devices.

Publishers and developers today are faced with escalating costs, personnel shortages, and competitive pressure to push technology to the limit. To address these challenges, progressive companies are embracing low-cost high-quality outsourcing partners capable of augmenting their own internal production capacity. This approach affords the benefits of speed to market with tremendous costs savings and without compromising quality.

The outsourcing division at FXLabs was created to address these needs and support our client’s goals of achieving market leadership. The dedicated outsourcing team handles each of our client’s projects with care and attention to detail while maintaining security and data integrity throughout the process. Our multi-shore model provides for reliable communication and readily available project status and updates.

India always had the potential to become an attractive destination for outsourcing of gaming development activities. What started off from Back-office process outsourcing (BPO), moved on to LPO and then Knowledge process Outsourcing (KPO) seems to finally be hurtling towards GDO or Game development Outsourcing. However, the hurdles for Indians in GDO are much steeper than either the BPO or KPO industries. For one India’s linguistic advantage no longer holds as much value in the GDO sector. India will have to compete with South Korea and Taiwan whose experience and consequently talent pool is far greater than that of India with regard to game development. India needs to establish special training institutes to develop quality professionals. In addition to outsourcing, Indian companies can team up with their foreign counterparts to co-produce games.

One of the things driving the Game development industry in India is the potential market here. According to a new report by San Francisco-based analyst and consulting firm Pearl Research, it has been estimated that the internet game market in India will exceed $200 million in 2010.[2] With both local and international publishers has started investing in the Indian internet games market, today online game development represents one of the few feasible publishing models in a country where software piracy rates stay beyond 85%.

Institutions:

In 2006, Indian gaming companies and Indian subsidiaries of foreign gaming companies established the Indian Games Industry and Trade Association (iGITA). iGITA would help Indian gaming companies to secure a strong foothold in the global gaming development market. Indian gaming companies are in the process of developing products that are targeted at both domestic and international markets. Despite the growth and opportunities for development, the Indian gaming industry has to deal with challenges such as scarcity of skilled professionals and high prevalence of piracy.

Because the gaming industry is well-established in other parts of the in the world, entrepreneurs in India would not have to expend the same amount of energy to re-establish legitimacy in their country. Also, both technical aspects and well as the outsourcing are accepted, popular and seen as legitimate professions/ business models in India; gaining legitimacy is never going to be an issue for this Industry here. The only visible barrier for now seems to be a lack of trained professionals in this particular domain.


[1] (2009, January 22). Bollywood hit inspires India videogame. Retrieved August 14, 2009, from http://www.reuters.com/article/technologyNews/idUSTRE50L1VI20090122

[2] Raj, D. (2007, December 30). Online Game Development India. Retrieved August 13, 2009, from http://ezinearticles.com/?id=903276

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Technology

The ‘touch’ revolution!

We have had some amazing advancements in the telecommunications/ entertainment industry. Every gadget has had one objective in common though – introducing ‘ease of use’. The iPhone took ‘ease-of-use’ to another level with its capacitive touchscreen technology. Next came the kindle and Sony e-book reader (of which I believe only Sony’s book reader has touch capabilities – For more on book readers, read this crunchgear article) The laptop makers and even biggies like Microsoft and Apple must have sensed this as a huge opportunity. This week, we have had a slew of articles – all speculating about Apple tablet, Microsoft’s tablet – Courier, even a tablet with touchscreen capabilities by HP. The question is – are touchscreen tablets the next ‘in’ thing after mobile phones and book readers? Here’s why I think the answer is Yes –

Touch has the potential to truly lower the language barrier – Today, what holds gadgets off is the interface in English. For expanding into diverse markets like India, lowering the language barrier is essential alongwith the prime factor called cost. As touchscreen gadgets penetrate the market, the ‘qwerty’ keyboard can be replaced with a hindi language keyboard. This itself promises to change lives of many who wish to use gadgets like these.

(Caution: Image below is pure speculation on techblogs as of now. There has been NO official announcement)

Note: This is simply speculation

Note: This is simply speculation right now on various tech-blogs

Touch for ease of use – Icons are possibly the easiest way of identifying with things. Every advanced phone today has one character- icon representation of features. While some phones such as Nokia N95 use buttons to browse icons, latest phones like Samsung star, Nokia N97 and IPhone 3GS are using touchscreen to scintillating effect. Today, calling my best friend is as simple as pressing my finger on his/her photo in the contacts list. That for me is great ease of use.

Why tablets are the way to go?

Even now, for work, people prefer a larger screen. Can you imagine yourself writing a full report or doing a ppt or an excel sheet on a mobile? Majority of people will still say they would like to look at a larger screen. A tablet would not only increase mobility (since these gadgets would definitely be more portable than a laptop) but also aid faster browsing.

Clearly, all major firms in this field must be working towards creating a superb interface . This is one field where one can expect a lot of advances, particularly in 2010.

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(Image credits)

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Business, Strategy, Technology

Windows 7 – Make or Break for Microsoft?

Hrishikesh Thite is a second year management student at the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta. This thought piece was written as part of a submission for a course on Analysis of ICT Markets. It is fairly long, so consider yourself forewarned.

Microsoft released the Windows 7 Release Candidate (RC) to the general public and 7 went gold[1] on July 22, 2009. The first impression is not very much different from that of Windows Vista – Windows 7 looks and feels pretty much the same at first glance. Most internet reviews have evaluated Windows 7 from just the consumer perspective, with a “What’s New” list, and frankly there are not many bullet points in that department. Windows 7 is indeed based on the same kernel and architecture as Vista, and in many cases it is just a version bump. Few technology reviewers would even go on to say that Windows 7 is what Vista should have been all along[2]. So what has changed exactly? Is 7 indeed better than Vista; more importantly, is it an overall better value than XP that many current users refused to give up[3]?

In order to analyse if Windows 7 will succeed, we need to first define success; this by itself is a rather hard nut to crack. Microsoft has spent upwards of $6 billion[4] towards development of 7, and will spend a few hundred million in marketing it. Microsoft expects to sell 177 million copies and licenses[5] by the year end which will bring in revenues to the tune of $15 billion, making Windows 7 a commercial success[6]. The forecast estimates also mean that 7 must sell at a rate that is four times as effective as Vista[7]. This is, of course, rather hard to believe, given ScriptLogic’s statements[8] and Forrester’s research report[9] which predict a bleak forecast for 7. The global economy is not helping either, and many companies who skipped Vista (a whopping 89%) will also skip 7[10].

However, XP is now over 8 years old and beginning to show wear and tear. Windows 7’s improved security and usability features, 64-bit support and Microsoft’s promise to provide full compatibility of legacy software via a XP virtual machine licensed alongside Windows 7 and much improved hardware and driver compatibility[11] may be good reasons for enterprises to upgrade. In fact, if XP continues to be deployed in business environments, employees may wonder why they don’t have the latest Windows 7 that they already have at home[12]. Third-party software vendors, especially gaming studios may force upgrades, because they can only support so many different OS versions. Further, the beta-testing results scream faster boot speeds, a leaner UI than Vista and better tolerance for underpowered hardware, which may be underpinned to Microsoft’s latest target, the ever-growing NetBook market[13].

A lot also depends on how Microsoft markets the OS. There are two schools of thought on this: The first (Microsoft itself belongs to this camp) says that Windows 7 is targeted towards usability and the user experience, that the OS quickly gets out of the way allowing people to accomplish what they want to do, using slightly different[14] UI paradigms that are task-based rather than tool-based (the ribbon interface or the redesigned control panel are examples). The other school says that Microsoft should pretty much ignore the “consumers”, and market exclusively to geeks[15]. The premise is that resident geeks make-or-break an OS, and Microsoft’s exercise to appeal to the average consumer fails, unlike Apple’s for example, and the geeks create viral communities and influence a much larger base than ads or sales and marketing can ever do. Further, the changes in Windows 7 are largely behind the screens (full disk encryptions, improved networking stack for example), something that the mainstream will never directly notice, but over which the geeks will cry hoarse, like they did when Vista “sucked” and “blew hard”.

Either way, what really matters is that Microsoft and Windows 7 continues to receive a lot of positive publicity and media coverage[16], which by itself is another critical success parameter[17]. Windows 7 can be looked upon as an attempt to quickly replace the botched Vista release, and reviewers are noticing that while 7 may be based on the same architecture, it happens to do everything better than its predecessor. The law of relatives is extremely powerful in this regard: put an average product besides a bad one, and the average is perceived as over-the-tops excellence[18]. People, in general, and the CXOs that make the purchase decisions aided by the many “research journals”, in particular, tune-in favourably to all the hype that this positive press coverage generates.

An alternative way to look at success is by answering the question: “Who really cares about Windows 7?[19]” Techies, who understand OSes, choose Linux or other Unix-based variants, such as the Mac, while non-techies care only about their applications, and not about the underlying operating system. The delays in releasing Vista let XP seep into the “collective consciousness”, and when Vista did release, it fell flat because of the half-baked job; it forced XP to become the path of least-resistance for non-techies. Businesses don’t care about newer versions of Windows[20] because the existing solution works just fine and has been (almost) completely debugged. Children and older people don’t care about Windows because it is just too much pain to keep everything updated, patched and usable; it often requires jumping through the confusing hoops of the UAC, anti-malware software and the BSODs[21]. The above effectively leaves out only the “consumer” market – one that has little to say against the onerous-DRM, but needs to watch the latest BlueRay movie or play the latest OrangeBox released game[22] – to really give a wayward look at and maybe care about Windows 7.

Critics may continue to bad-mouth Vista and Windows 7[23], especially on raw performance. However, they are forgetting that most new PC and laptop purchases have extremely capable hardware, and that people are willing to use Windows 7 if they derive sufficient benefits in terms of usability, for example. The effective monopoly, whatever the anti-trust court may rule, that Microsoft has over OEMs coupled with consumer apathy ensures that a license for Windows 7 ships with every new machine purchased. These new machine sales may be slowing down, but they certainly do not appear to be declining at least in the near future, securing a constant “ka-ching” at the Microsoft’s equivalent of Scrooge’s money-pen.

In conclusion, whether Windows 7 will succeed depends on how one defines success. My weighing of the parameters described above results in a thumbs-up for 7 – Windows 7 will be a success. Even if it does not, the other cash-cow, the MS-Office system, and Microsoft’s existing (and burgeoning) cash reserves are more than sufficient to let it rethink strategies and come back anew to tackle its failures[24]. All in all, Windows 7, like Windows Vista, is “mostly harmless”[25].

Side-note: I have not covered the “new features” and hardcore benchmarking of the OS in this thought piece, even though I have access to a Windows 7 RC installation because I feel that these can be gleaned off any internet review website[26]. I’ve rather chosen to examine the market forces that will make-or-break Windows 7 and Microsoft.


[1] Going Gold is a “traditional” phrase derived from the Release-To-Manufacturing (RTM) versions of software products, a gold master created for stamping the optical media during manufacturing for retail / OEM distribution.

[2] http://www.smallbusinesscomputing.com/news/article.php/3830971 and http://www.realtime-windowsserver.com/os_features_troubleshooting/2009/07/windows_7_is_what_vista_should.htm

[3] In fact, there exists some business users who are completely satisfied with Windows 2000, and need none of the “features” of the newer OSes, since they cause bloat and require newer and faster hardware, increasing costs.

[4] http://news.softpedia.com/news/Vista-a-6-Billion-Dollars-Operating-System-44096.shtml – Vista required $6 billion to develop; based on typical inflation adjustment et al, we can safely assume that 7 costs as much at least

[5] http://www.tgdaily.com/content/view/43208/140/

[6] Microsoft promoted Steven Sinofsky to a new position as the president of the Windows division. He is credited with improving the development process for Windows 7, compared to its long-delayed and under-performing predecessor, Vista as the president of the Windows division. http://www.computerworlduk.com/management/careers-hr/people-management/news/index.cfm?newsid=15611

[7] An effective rate of 30 million per month versus 8.5 million for Vista which sold 180 million in 21 months – http://www.tgdaily.com/content/view/43214/141/

[8] http://www.tgdaily.com/content/view/43201/140/

[9] http://www.tgdaily.com/content/view/38613/118/

[10] http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/159125/economy_could_slow_enterprise_adoption_of_windows_7.html

[11] Intel has been assured by Microsoft that it fully understands the problems that Vista had, including backward compatibility with various applications and peripherals, and that it has been working to make sure Windows 7 addresses these well – http://www.newsfactor.com/story.xhtml?story_id=13200AB9JSV0

[12] http://tech.blorge.com/Structure:%20/2009/02/07/microsoft-begins-push-to-convert-xp-users-to-windows-7/

[13] Microsoft even has a “Starter Edition” specifically targeted for NetBooks. Microsoft’s Gazelle project could build up to a substantial competition for the Chrome OS from Google – http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/160287/windows_7_the_six_versions_explained.html

[14] One of the reasons why Vista bombed is the alienation of upgrade-users from XP. Vista had sufficiently different UI paradigms that people had to relearn and retrain, something they immensely hate.

[15] http://www.macobserver.com/tmo/article/CNET_Key_to_Windows_7_Success_is_Geeks/

[16] The biggest bane of Vista’s existence is the amount and severity of negative publicity that it received, pretty much sealing its fate as a failed product.

[17] http://tech.blorge.com/Structure:%20/2009/01/18/the-key-to-windows-7-success-media-coverage/

[18] The Mojave Experiment shows this in action: Windows Vista when demonstrated to users who had no prior knowledge about how Vista actually looked and felt gave it much higher ratings, since they were unbiased by the negative media hype – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mojave_Experiment

[19] http://blogs.computerworld.com/who_cares_about_windows_7

[20] In fact, most business will upgrade only after a couple of months have passed since the original release, if not waiting for a couple of service packs!

[21] They are probably far better off using either a Netbook or a no-nonsense Mac.

[22] Even these guys are shifting to game consoles and stand-alone entertainment centers running off of alternative OSes.

[23] http://www.xpnet.com/iworldtest/ for example provides a report on the load times of various Microsoft Office packages on different versions of Windows on different hardware configurations. It conveniently ignores the minor, but important, usability improvements that have been built into the newer versions. There is a reason why Office 2007 over Vista is superior and more productive than Office 2000 over Windows 2000, if run on capable hardware.

[24] A recent example is the Microsoft Bing-Yahoo! deal. Also, even after the Vista fiasco, Microsoft OSes continue to maintain about 89% market share. Of course, this is already a cause for concern for Microsoft; but in the larger scheme of things, competition is good for both Linux and Mac.

[25] http://www.boston.com/business/technology/articles/2009/01/22/microsoft_tries_to_win_back_fans_with_vista_alternative/

[26] The Microsoft Fanboy, Paul Thurrott, covers these “new features” extensively at www.winsupersite.com, for example.

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