ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, February 18, 2007
Vol. 41 - No 38
Financial Times  

Sinhala now on Microsoft Windows Vista Launch

Microsoft Windows Vista was officially launched in Sri Lanka this week amidst a dazzling spectacle of lights, an array of colourfully costumed dancers and even elephants at the BMICH, truly fitting one of the most anticipated products in the IT world. It is being described as the biggest and most strategic launch in the history of Microsoft.

Three products were introduced to the public, those being Windows Vista, Microsoft 2007 Office and Microsoft Exchange Server 2007.

Microsoft Country Manager, Sriyan De Silva Wijeyaratne made the historic announcement that Windows Vista comes with inbuilt Sinhala. "This is a dream which many people in this country have been working towards," he said.

"It has taken awhile and it has taken a lot of hard work but finally, Sinhala joins a selected number of languages worldwide. Something special is happening for Sri Lanka." Microsoft wants to take this product as far into the rural areas of this country as possible. "There is no reason that any individual in this country should not have access to this technology." Demonstrations and promotions are also being planned in the coming months.

Wijeyaratne continued that it was made possible with the help and support of people in the academic community. "Of course, we have more work to do. We have to fine-tune the product but the building blocks have been laid." He added that Sri Lanka has a lot of work to do in fostering the right environment and is actively looking at how neighboring countries and markets have grown and should adopt their methods. The token handing over of the first three products of Microsoft Vista was accepted by the Chairman of the Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) of Sri Lanka, Professor V.K. Samaranayake.

"It is just over two and a half years when Microsoft operations were started in this country," Wijeyaratne said. "But every now and then, you come into a time in history which is the right time, which is a special time. My colleagues and I at Microsoft Sri Lanka have been really privileged to become a part of the Microsoft team." He said that history is being made in Sri Lanka and across the world. Sri Lanka is joining millions of customers, friends and partners in different ways of celebrating and rejoicing the launch.

"We want to look at these products and understand how they work to influence our future. Sri Lanka will join close to a billion customers who will adopt these products over the next few years." Wijeyeratne believes that in that sense, the country can galvanize to adopt these products and realize the IT potential of its economy.

Michel Gambier, General Manager of Information Worker Business for the Asia Pacific region who oversees development of the Microsoft Office systems was also present at the launch. With twenty three years at Microsoft, Gambier said he wanted to empower workers and organizations to reach their best potential. This is particularly important since more companies are operating globally. "This is the most tested product in Microsoft history," he said, adding that millions have participated in creating the final product. Chevron, one of the largest multinational corporations and a global energy giant with operations in 180 countries was instrumental in testing and adopting the product.

Gambier said that most of the features of the older Windows edition are available in Vista but that the display has been altered to make it more accessible and easier to find.

There are several new features as well to help workers prepare documents, reports and presentations at the same time, managing time efficiently. According to Gambier, the goal is to improve operations, increase quality and eliminate extra costs.
"It's all about achieving their greatest potential. This will change the way people work." In an increasingly global environment, it is essential to have the knowledge and skills to serve customers on a global basis. These Microsoft products are aiming to streamline the way people communicate, share information and collaborate.


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Copyright 2007 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.