Microsoft launched its Windows 10 in 190 countries on Wednesday, and of all those countries, CEO Satya Nadella chose Kenya for his personal visit. Nadella’s trip was just days after the U.S.-sponsored Global Entrepreneurship Summit and a state visit by President Barack Obama, says a report from Quartz.
Windows 10 Launch: Kenya an unusual choice?
Nairobi was one of the Kenyan cities among the 13 cities globally selected for hosting Microsoft’s launch events for Windows 10. The other cities were Sydney, Tokyo, Singapore, Beijing, New Delhi, Dubai, Berlin, Johannesburg, Madrid, London, São Paulo and New York. Kenya can be seen as an unexpected choice by Nadella, as not many think of Kenya’s so-called “Silicon Savannah” as moving ahead for a revolution, says the report. Nadella informed fans of his Kenya trip via his official Twitter account on Tuesday.
“Arrived in Kenya to celebrate @Windows 10 launch with fans & learn how tech is #empowering Kenyan people & orgs,” Nadella tweeted.
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Nadella, similar to global technology firm IBM, choose Kenya over other developed locations. The country has emerged as a developing hub for technology and is seen as Africa’s Silicon Valley, which earned it the nickname “Silicon Savannah.” IBM also chose Nairobi for establishing its first research hub in Africa. This place also received an IBM research center before Johannesburg.
Windows 10: Why did Microsoft’s CEO choose Kenya?
The region is witnessing rapid mobile phone penetration, and by 2020, Sub-Saharan Africa is expected to be a home to half a billion smartphone users. In addition, the rising middle class there gives one more reason to Microsoft for focusing on Kenya, says the report.
Kenya is using technology to develop a $10 billion technology city dubbed “Konza.” The public-private project is expected to be completed by 2030. Once complete, it will house many tech firms, including Samsung.
Kenya presents a big opportunity for Microsoft as over half of internet users in the region use PCs and pirated copies of Windows. With Windows 10, which supports computers, mobile phones and tablets, Microsoft will be hoping to gain many mobile users. It must be noted that Windows Phone outperforms the iPhone in Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria, although it lags cheaper Android phones.
Microsoft Windows 10 is offered as a free upgrade to users of Windows 7 or Windows 8.1. Windows 10 offers fast booting times, longer battery life, enhanced data security and a new browser called Microsoft Edge, plus its digital assistant Cortana, which many say is as good as Apple’s Siri.