Orange Waves the Windows 8 Flag
The jury is still out on whether Windows 8, the latest operating system from Microsoft Corp., is a hit or not: In fact, some believe it has been a big miss for Microsoft in 2012.
One company that's hoping Windows 8, and its accompanying Windows Phone 8 OS, will take off in 2013 is France Télécom – Orange, a longtime Microsoft collaborator: The two companies have been close partners since 2002, when they jointly released first Windows smartphone, and continue to work together on a number of projects.
Danièle Cohen, director of Convergent Devices at Orange, believes the introduction of Windows 8 can not only benefit customers but also help Orange with its multi-screen service developments.
Cohen tells Light Reading that the new Microsoft system provides a much needed alternative to the Apple Inc. and Android devices currently available. "We want to provide as much choice as possible for our customers: Windows 8 is the new actor in a market dominated by Apple, with Android as the challenger. The strength of Windows 8 is that it will be on many devices from many OEMs and ODMs and that gives it great potential," she notes, though she also concedes that "Microsoft has been late to the tablet market."
"On the PC it is definitely a game-changer. It provides an experience that is much closer to that on phones and tablets, with the touch-screen capabilities," adds Cohen.
That's particularly interesting for Orange because "we're not just offering broadband mobile connections but also a range of services. ... Windows 8 [including Windows Phone 8] offers a consistent experience across a number of devices -- the smartphone, tablet, PC and Xbox. That matches the strategy we already have for our TV services in France, which are available on a number of different devices."
Orange currently has Windows Phone 8 devices in the French market from HTC and Nokia (two from each vendor) and a Windows 8 tablet from Asus, while the company has an Acer tablet running the operating system in Poland.
Now the operator is waiting to measure customer uptake and feedback before it decides how it might utilize Windows 8 devices and applications in its customer packages. "Now we have to wait and see how customers react," says Cohen.
-- Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading