Microsoft forays into mobile, cloud

Microsoft Corporation, the world's largest software maker, is stepping up its ambition to become a devices and services firm _ joining Apple and Google in forays into mobile and cloud computing.

Mr Khoobchandani (left) shows the new Acer Iconia W3, a Windows-based tablet, and Mr Capossela holds the new Nokia Lumia 1020.

The move is aimed to offset the impact from declining desktop PC sales that have weighed heavily on the computer software licence sector.

In fiscal year ending June, the enterprise business unit was a major revenue source accounting for 55% of Microsoft's global revenue. Only 20% of the total came from consumer and online businesses.

Chris Capossela, corporate vice-president for consumer channel of Microsoft Corporation, said the company is focusing on four strategic consumer products: mobile phones, tablets, cloud-based Microsoft Office 365 and the Xbox console game.

Microsoft is scheduled to launch its Windows 8.1 operating system globally tomorrow. The new version of the OS can run on PCs, laptops, tablets and mobile phones.

"Windows 8.1 will strengthen our market position in PCs and notebooks, while extending our reach to tablets and smartphones," Mr Capossela told the Bangkok Post.

As of September, figures provided by StatCounter, a free web tracker, reported that Thailand has one of the highest Windows XP's installation bases in Asia Pacific with a total of 28% or 5.7 million PC units.

The 11-year-old Windows XP OS will officially be retired without security support on April 8 2014. It will no longer be capable of handling sophisticated cyber-attacks and demands for more data privacy and productivity.

"This provides huge potential demand to upgrade to new Windows 8.1-based devices," Mr Capossela said.

He said Microsoft plans to unveil its own second-generation tablets, 'Surface2' and 'Surface Pro2', next Tuesday.

By 2020, there will be 50 billion connected devices in the world.

Thailand has 75 million mobile subscribers, most of whom have two or three mobile numbers.

Thailand's smartphone market is expected to grow by 40% to 7.3 million units this year. The local tablet market is also predicted to grow at the same pace, reaching a total of some 3.5 million units.

Haresh Khoobchandani, managing director of Microsoft (Thailand), said Thailand is the world's fifth largest smartphone market for Nokia.

"Nokia now has a 15% share in the local smartphone market, up from only 2-3% last year, thanks to strong sales of the Nokia Lumia series," he said.

About the author

columnist
Writer: Suchit Leesa-nguansuk
Position: Senior Reporter