Microsoft Corporation is one of the world’s biggest software makers and manufactures and licenses a range of products and services related to computing. Founded in 1975 by Bill Gates and Paul Allen, the company is probably best known for its Windows software, although it has begun an aggressive drive into the mobile sector seeking to make inroads on market share held by Google and Apple. It paid 5.44 billion euros for the handset business of Nokia in September 2013.
Microsoft's new Windows 8 operating system priced at HK$319
Microsoft yesterday launched its latest operating system, pricing it as low as HK$319 in a bid to keep its dominance of the industry.
Microsoft executives said Windows 8 was easy to use and would be installed on new computers and tablets shipped by partner manufacturers or could be purchased as an upgrade.
Joelle Woo, marketing director of Microsoft's Hong Kong division, said the decision to sell the software at such a low price was unprecedented, but that the offer was only for a limited period. The cheapest version of Windows 7 costs HK$1,699 from Microsoft.
Woo said Windows 8's low promotional price was a response to market conditions.
The company has an 83 per cent share of the global market for personal-computer operating systems. In Hong Kong, more than 90 per cent of computer users have Windows installed, Woo said.
Still, the software company has in recent years faced increasing challenges. The latest operating system by Apple, for example, can be downloaded for HK$158.
On the issue of piracy, Woo said the city has been gaining an understanding about the value of intellectual property rights. She cited industry statistics showing that the use of pirated software in Hong Kong had dropped by about 10 per cent in the past few years to 43 per cent last year.
Microsoft also launched an online app store with software applications for the new operating system. Local partners helped create food and entertainment apps and an investment guide.
The PC market globally has been facing sluggish growth in recent years.
According to Microsoft, worldwide PC shipments last year, which totalled 352.8 million units, marked only a 0.5 per cent increase from 2010. But growth was expected to reach 5 per cent this year, the company said.