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  • Windows 98 Launched in Vietnam; Users Hesitate to Buy
  • August 3, 1998 (HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam) -- Microsoft Corp.'s Windows 98 operating system received a warm but cautious welcome from Vietnamese users attending a presentation ceremony in mid July by Microsoft Vietnam in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
    "Our target is to bring more conveniences to end users by providing such easier and inexpensive programs," Ngo Phuc Cuong, Microsoft's resident representative in Vietnam, said at the function.

    Cuong also received appreciation from the audience for his demos on Windows 98. Cuong said that he expects local users will be satisfied with Windows 98 not only its new applications, but also for its ease-of-use.

    "Windows 98 will help them shorten the time for Internet access, and thus help them save money," said Cuong. Internet users in Vietnam often complain about expensive Internet access fees. "It is a reason why most Internet users in Vietnam will be customers of Windows 98," he said.

    Currently, Windows 98 is priced at US$200 in Vietnam. "It is not inexpensive to the majority of users here," Cuong added. However, he said IT companies and organizations first, and then governmental agencies, are the most likely to buy Windows 98.

    Asked about expected sales by the company, Cuong said calculations are not available for each separate market in the region. However, an official with a Microsoft sales section who requested anonymity said Microsoft Vietnam is expected to pull in about US$10 million this fiscal year.

    According to Tran Bao Quoc, sales manager of Ho Chi Minh-based TD&T; Co., Windows 98's authorized distributor here, Windows 98 sales look slow at the start, but will gradually grow toward the end of 1998.

    Tran Ha Nam, Scitec shop's owner, said his outlet can sell 10-20 packages of Windows 98. Nam also said this figure may increase when Windows 98 reaches a certain popularity.

    Dang Hoang Khanh, a computer consultant who tried the operating system, told a BizTech correspondent in Ho Chi Minh city that he discovered no problems in this new version Windows 98 after a two-week test. "However, half a month is too short to evaluate such an operating system," Khanh said.

    The majority of local users agree with Khanh that it will take time to evaluate Windows 98 in the Vietnamese market.

    However, some local users said Windows 98 is inconvenient or unsatisfactory.

    "I do not think Windows 98 is faster than Windows 95, though it is integrated with Internet Explorer and other applications," said Lam Ngoc Nam, a computer engineer based in HCMC.

    Most users in Vietnam are afraid of the instabilities that may be caused by replacing their current operating system to which they are accustomed with Windows 98.

    Analysts said that Windows 98 piracy has already appeared in HCMC. One student told a BizTech correspondent that he can buy a CD-ROM of Windows 98 for US$20, 10-times lower than its original price.

    "Piracy is increasing," Scitec's Nam said.

    (David Tran, Asia BizTech Correspondent)

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    Updated: Fri Jul 31 18:54:40 1998