Microsoft’s “Africa Pack” is Such an Insult to the Continent

Posted In Applications - By robertalai On Thursday, December 22nd, 2011 With 6 Comments

Microsoft announced the launch of its “first-ever ‘Africa Pack’” on Wednesday 14th December. The pack is nothing but a collection off some freely available, rejected and lousy software which can also be downloaded from microsoft.com.

While making the announcement, Microsoft claims that many Africans cannot afford the cost of downloading the software hence the reason why it is making the “Africa Pack” collection. That is one of the most stupid argument I have ever heard. How well spread out is Microsoft distribution? From what I know, the poor distribution of Microsoft is one of the main reason why piracy of software is common. You cannot make a software widely available while your distribution only reaches those who can afford to download the software for free from microsoft.com.

The Microsoft’s Africa Pack includes:

  • Microsoft Security Essentials – an anti-virus solution for protection for your PC;
  • Windows Live Essentials – programs for photos, movies, instant messaging, email, social networking and more.
  • Africa Theme Pack – desktop wallpapers and themes to customize your PC.
  • Local Language Interface Packs (LlP) for KiSwahili, Igbo, Hausa, Yoruba, and Amharic add a language layer to Windows and provide a roughly 80 percent localized experience by presenting the user interface – commands, dialogue boxes and more – in the user’s native language.
  • Internet Explorer 9 – the latest version of Microsoft’s popular browser for a fast, clean and trusted browsing experience.
  • Windows 7 Service Pack 1 – an update that includes previously released security, performance, and stability updates for Windows 7.

Naming the free pack of software “Africa Pack” proves one of the points I raised about the tech companies regard for Africa. They view Africa as a lousy and unimportant market. This was evident at LeWeb, is evident when you see the likes of Nokia, Samsung, LG and others come to launch phones in the Kenyan market. They will never exclusively launch a superior phone or system from Africa. They would rather do it from Europe and the America’s first and make some primitive / dumb and almost useless version of the same available to Africans.

This perception of Africans needs to change of Africans must rise up and change the vendors and manufacturers now. We must never beg to be treated right. We must fight for our space. Africans are not some exclusively female club whose mandate is to push for affirmative action. We are Africans are we have our rights.

About - Robert is an African Tech Blogger, Critic, Net Evangelist, Speaker, Mentor for Young Boys and Girls, Editor @TechMtaa and likes to Provide Sanitary Towels To Poor Women through the DishAPad Initiative

  • Akyuvi

    True and to the point.They should have used a different name even if it was meant for Africa, further more a person who is able buy a laptop at say Ksh. 50,000.00 should be able to buy an original software for say Ksh. 5,000.00

  • Jaffarmoha26

    You are right about Microsoft’s Distribution channels in Kenya. Some time back i wanted a genuine copy of VS 2010. I went round in circles, wrote to them, went to one of their offices, got a list of distributors who closed shop long time ago. Finnaly a friend told me that i should stop wassting time and that i could get a copy at 1k. I ended up with a pirated copy that i still use to date. Microsoft needs to improve their distribution channels as well as develop a more visible face for their products and support. I dont know why every global tech company with a presence in kenya think their role in Kenya is to attend meetings, give useless talks at the iHub, launch failed products and services and organize silly competitions !!!!

  • Tobiasbolo

    Stop complaining, Maufacturer/procucer take its product where money is. there is no money in Africa so is other parts of Asia. that why these products are not readly available. One person said the distributors list he was given by MS office closed shop long back. WHY….money.

    Two, even in far East where some of these tech toys are made, you never find them being sold… they dont have the MONEY to buy them as much as they make them with their own hands.

    Come to Middle east,  they have everything…. even ones that are yet to be launched in the market, the management of these multinationals have sent their representetives from Europe and America to HEAD their distribution here. WHY… they have the MONEY….  funny enough, they buy these tech toys and software and they dont really utulised them….

    Lastly, stop complaining…. lets continue pirating these software and hardware without spending even a shilling. BREAK all the CODES untill they bring their technology to merge with our brains here.

    enjoy

    • Tobias…you spoke for the majority of African and Asian users. I have a wide grin..Hope MS don’t come find my ass!

  • Arthur Oyako

    Good afternoon the same reason MS took liberty to download free apps about send them to Africa is the reason that we can’t afford it and that kind of thinking will keep their products high on the pirate lists and also give Ubuntu head way. Long live open source. Who needs MS?

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