Microsoft to study Japan's digital lifestyle, push business IT

West lags Japan in consumer tech, leads in business IT: MS Japan head

While Japan is ahead of the West in terms of consumer IT, it lags in business computing, Microsoft’s Japan president says.

Microsoft’s Japan unit plans to study more closely the use of digital technology in the lives of average Japanese to gain insights that it might use overseas, the head of its Japanese unit says.

“Microsoft has a lot to learn from Japan’s digital lifestyle,” said Darren Huston, president of Microsoft Japan, at a news conference in Tokyo on July 6. Huston used the event to outline progress made in the Japanese market over the last financial year and outline plans for the coming year.

In addition to looking more closely at how Japanese consumers use their digital gadgets, such as cellphones and personal computers with built-in TV and video recording, Huston will also continue the company’s push of its Windows Mobile platform and Xbox 360. Huston said he is “super proud” that Japanese carriers are beginning to sell Windows Mobile devices. Three years ago when he took charge there were none available, he said.

Over the next 12 months Microsoft’s Japan unit will also devote more resources to pushing IT into the Japanese workplace, which he said is several years behind those of the US or Europe in terms of IT adoption.

“There is a tremendous opportunity to increase worker productivity with IT,” said Huston.

Many small Japanese companies still rely on piecemeal collections of personal computers and often have only one or no central server. Microsoft has been trying to change this by promoting its Windows Server products and the job of pushing penetration of IT into the enterprise will go to Microsoft Japan chief operating officer Yasuyuki Higuchi.

That’s in contrast to digital lifestyles, which are several years ahead of the West, Huston said.

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