World leading IT company, Microsoft, launched its new Software, Windows 8, in Johannesburg, South Africa in an event that attracted who is who in the tech scene – including celebrity chef Reuben Riffel, mountaineer Sibusiso Vilane, photographer Greg Marinovich, ceramic artist Fee Halstead, plastic surgeon Ridwan Mia, adventurer Kingsley Holgate and swimming Olympic gold medal winner Chad le Clos – all of who shared their experiences and endorsed the new version of Windows.

According to Microsoft SA Managing Director, Mteto Nyati, “With the launch of Windows 8,  Microsoft is unveiling a re-imagined Windows to the world. Whether you want a tablet or a PC, whether you want to consume or create content, whether you want to work or play – Windows 8 delivers a personalised experience that fits your unique style and needs.”

The new software application is available in two versions; Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro. It features a new fast and fluid Start screen that gives people one-click access to the apps and content they care most about, the entirely new Internet Explorer 10 that is perfect for touch, and built-in cloud capabilities with SkyDrive that allow users to share images and documents quickly and easily.

“One of the first things that’s pretty cool about the new Windows 8 is the picture password,” said Le Clos as he clicked on his image to log in.

Designed to be used across an array of devices like desktops, laptops, tablets and phones, the newly launched software has a beautiful new user interface (UI), a wide range of apps with the grand opening of the Windows Store available on a broad range of Windows 8 certified PCs and tablets.

Nyati stated that internet growth on the continent has been primarily on mobile devices and tablets are particularly attractive because they can be financed via the mobile operators.

“You need to understand there’s been a great adoption of mobile technologies by Africans. Our sense is that we are going to be seeing a similar kind of trend when it comes to tablets and the drive for that is the financing model of tablets or phones by the mobile operators.”

“Our view is that laptops will continue to struggle; we’ll continue to struggle around the desktop, but the adoption of Windows 8 tablets is going to be much higher in Africa,” he stated.

The Microsoft boss affirmed that the software development is a new platform for local developers to make money. “The other driver for this will be the applications: Given the opportunity that the Windows 8, through the Windows Store, will be giving Africans to make money out of applications, we are going to be seeing more applications being written that are relevant to Africa.”

In a related development, South Africa’s Standard Bank has entered a partnership with Microsoft and Samsung –giving the bank’s customers the oppourtunity to purchase Samsung’s new Ativ tablets for running the new Microsoft Windows 8 operating system at the rate of R6 695 through the bank. The financial institution had launched banking app, launched earlier this year on Apple, Android and BlackBerry platforms.


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