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Microsoft lowers cost of office suits

NAIROBI, August 28 – Computer giant Microsoft has announced a 40 percent reduction of prices for its Home and Student version of Office 2007 application software.

Microsoft Marketing Manager for East and Southern Africa David Ndung’u said Thursday that the reduction was in line with the corporation’s objective of increasing technology penetration in the world under the ‘Microsoft Unlimited Potential Program’ banner.

“Microsoft is already a very profitable organization. What we want is to be relevant to our local markets,” Ndung’u noted.

The suite which was retailing at an equivalent of Sh11, 500 will now go for Sh6, 700.

It includes applications such as Microsoft Office Word 2007, Excel 2007, PowerPoint 2007 and Office One Note 2007.

However, Ndung’u explained, the offer didn’t include the operating system.

The initiative aims to reach the next one billion people globally by 2015.

Observing that there were only about one billion computer users in the world, Ndungu said their vision was to raise that number to over five billion people.

He cited the high piracy levels in developing markets that were mostly triggered by high product costs, and hoped that lower would enable customers to access legitimate products.

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“We believe that it will allow more people to take advantage of the use of productivity tools found in this product and it will ease the availability of genuine products to customers,” he said.

Ndung’u was, however, quick to point out that small businesses and cyber cafés would not benefit from the price drop, explaining that they fell under a different market segment, which has its own pricing structure.

He nonetheless pledged that the corporation would continue to review their structures downwards to ensure that they respond to the need of the market.

On what measures the company was taking to spur innovation and help local software developers, Ndung’u said they were engaging the developers in different forums and providing them with development tools.

“Since we set up office here about 12 years ago, we created a user group of developers and provide an environment for them to meet,” he said of the group that meets on a monthly basis.

He underscored the success of their efforts which had seen some local applications created and used in local organization such as the tea, pork and flower industries.

Ndung’u added that they were working with the Kenya Copyrights Board to create awareness on protection of inventions.

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