Business

Microsoft to emb Office
365 in PCs

Microsoft Indonesia, the local arm of software giant, Microsoft Corporation, is in talks with computer manufacturers to embed Office 365, the US company’s cloud-based software service, in personal computers (PCs), executives said.

Andreas Diantoro, president director of Microsoft Indonesia, said that the company was discussing with vendors of at least seven leading PC brands the possibility of collaborating on Office 365.

The brands, he said, included Acer, Hewlett Packard and Toshiba.

“We are exploring the possibility of bundling our product with that of our partners’,” he pointed out.

Office 365 is the software giant’s cloud-based software service available under subscription schemes.

Microsoft launched the enterprise version of the software in Indonesia last year and on Tuesday the company launched the commercial versions — Office 365 Home Premium and University — into the market.

Andreas added that besides pre-loading the product in PCs, the company would sell the software online via its global website office.com and in retail outlets.

The product is already available in 168 stores in Java and in Palembang, Medan and Makassar, he said.

“And the product will be available in 500 stores across Indonesia in three months time,” he said during the launch.

With Office 365, he added, Microsoft was attempting to curb the rampant copyright piracy of its products.

Microsoft, he said, had a 98 percent share of the software market but only 10 percent of that market used legally-purchased software.

“This means that the remaining 87 percent of the market is using pirated software. It would be good if we could bring this number down to 80 percent,” he noted.

Unlike regular Office software, people create personal accounts and pay subscription fees to access the Office 365 software suite, which includes Word, PowerPoint and Outlook. Subscribers can then access their accounts through multiple devices.

In Indonesia, Office 365 Home Premium is available for Rp 729,999 (US$75) annually while the university version is available for Rp 639,999 for four years. The subscription includes additional storage space on SkyDrive and bonus call minutes to regular phones on Skype.

According to Andreas, the lower prices and bonus offers would attract people to Office 365.

“Around 50 percent of people who run the trial version of the software end up buying the full version,” he said.

However, other cloud-based software is also on the market. Google Docs, created by Google Inc., allows Google account holders to create, edit and store files through the web. The service is largely free.

DropBox, a cloud-based storage application, offers a quota of free storage to account holders.

Bonnie Mamanua, business group head of the Microsoft Office division at Microsoft Indonesia, said that Office 365 differentiated itself by being accessible offline as well, albeit without certain features.

“Our focus has always been about enabling productivity. That is what we have always invested in and that is our business,” she said.

She added that the market trend was indeed “going to cloud”, in line with the trend of using multiple devices.

She said that Indonesians would quickly catch on to this trend, given that the market was accustomed to online social networking which ran on cloud technology as well.

“The challenge is more toward how to cover the more than 17,000 islands in Indonesia,” she said.

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