Microsoft parades Windows 8 in Malawi


Image: Justin Zarb. By Vitus-Gregory Gondwe
Justin Zarb

By Gregory Gondwe, Blantyre, Malawi

Justin Zarb, Microsoft’s Principal Premier Field Engineer made a half full thousand-capacity crowd converged on St. Andrews International High School hall in Blantyre hold on to their breath in a Cathedral silence when he demonstrated how Windows 8 tablets scheduled for launching on 26 October, 2012 performs.

Both Zarb and John Nielsen, General Manager of Microsoft’s Europe, Middle East and Africa Customer Service and Support Microsoft said they are very excited at the prospect of the release of windows 8 into the market.

Zarb, who described Windows 8 as a kind of novelty set to revolutionise the world completely, then went on to demonstrate why he was touting the product when he connected his Windows 8 tablet – an indication that the software will also run on the surface family of tablets – to a projector that was showing on a big screen.

“Windows 8 allows you to interface and cross-platform applications that exist on both the desktop which will also have a surface touch,” he explained.

Zarb said this latest version of operating system is the most important redesign of windows interface in more than a decade.

Microsoft employees in MalawiWindows 8 tablets vary from simple slates to fully convertible ultraportable laptops and Microsoft has since made the Release Preview of Windows 8 available publicly.

The tablets also mark the first time Microsoft has made its own hardware.

Nielsen said Windows will make the world no longer the same as it will serve as a prototype for future Windows 8 tablets.

Windows 8 includes a touch-controlled interface dubbed Metro as well as a more traditional desktop.

Zarb said this bold version of office is very user friendly not because it can be used on a touch screen but because it lessens the hassle of looking for different pieces of devices to perform a job using a computer.

“It is giving us a lot of excitement,” disclosed Nielsen.

He said Microsoft always set what is seen as unrealistic goals.

“We spend a lot of time argue on whether or not the innovations we are trying to come up with are possible or not,” he said saying as Microsoft they think new ways, different ways to get things done.

“We truly believe in the principle ‘Big, Bold, vicious and unrealistic goals that help us to think outside the box,” boasted Nielsen to a very attentive and spell bound audience.

Then he strangely declared to the surprise of the audience: “We love mistakes; we see mistakes as friends,” said Nielsen before elaborating, “As long as people learn from mistakes.”

He told the audience: “One thing I would recommend you to think about is really to encourage people to think big, have big bold dreams and take risks to get there because all little small mistakes will make you bigger as long as you take your time to understand how did you go wrong, how would you do it differently next time.” 

He says this is what has made Microsoft the biggest ICT firm in the world.

“We think in devices, we think in software, we think in online services; as Microsoft we are busy in many different business areas,” he says.

Nielsen told the gathering that they are familiar with some of them while they are also not familiar with some because they have not been introduced to this part of Africa.

“But we expand every year to get more and more service and products available. We have a lot of enterprise products which are helping many big enterprises to work and operate in a very efficient and successful way,” he said.

“Since a few years we have been really fast growing our own online service businesses,” he added.

Nielsen, who was alternating what he was saying and some video clips, then showed one such clip that explained that Microsoft looks at Africa not as a hoard of poverty but as untapped potential.

Between August 27 and September 4, 2012 Microsoft employees were visiting Malawi to roll out a targeted ICT education training drive as part of their global community service initiative. 

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