It was reported that Microsoft has agreed to crash the price of Vista in China. This I believe is not the issue. If it makes economic sense for both China and Microsoft to do this why can't Nigeria ask for the same lower pricing for Vista or are all Nigerians too rich that it doesn't really matter?
Some years ago Microsoft did the same thing, crashed the price of Microsoft Office suite which retailed at about $300.00 to just about $30.00 in China.
What is China doing that Nigeria is not doing to get such much needed discounts?
BEIJING -- Microsoft Corp. slashed the price on its Windows Vista operating system in China by more than half, in a bid to lure buyers away from pirated versions of the software.
Beginning Aug. 1, Microsoft cut the retail price for its ,
From Wall Street Journal (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB118613160493287207.html?mod=technology_main_whats_news)
Even in the US, there is a strong government policy concerning the use of Open Source Software as a first alternative when considering software for government funded projects.
Some countries have given complete backing to Open Source Software as a reasonable and viable alternative to expensive proprietary counterparts.
So, with the gradual (albeit slow) growth in the area of ICT in Nigeria isn't it time for the government to take a proactive approach towards reducing the prices of Software especially for government agencies since the option of asking government establishments to switch to Open Source Software for now based on the level of usage and support in Nigeria today for Open Source Software won't be a very appealing option?
While the battle will continue to rage between the proponents of the 2 software movements one cannot fail to state that the government (especially as Nigeria is a developing nation) has a lot of role to play concerning the direction the nation's ICT policy will take.
Development in the area of ICT cannot begin and end in seminar rooms, news conferences and on the pages of newspapers?
An integrated, people oriented and practical approach to using technology to solve problems must be looked into. Policy formulation and implementation with measurable parameters and indices should be the preferred way of using ICT to develop Nigeria.
We may be under estimating the importance of a vibrant software manpower in Nigeria. Apart from creating jobs for young and intelligent Nigerians it offers a real opportunity to transform lives and the general standard of living.
These days DSP (Digital Signal Processing) based technologies enable one to design and develop digital cameras, access control machines, inverters, TVs, communication equipment etc. The bulk of the work is being done at the software layer today at the same time reducing component count at the manufacturer end since most chip makers these days integrate a lot of control features in the digital form as against analog form in virtually all their embedded solutions.
Lest one forgets the subject of this article the government of Nigeria through its relevant ICT agency should as a matter of urgency explore and exploit ways to get a better deal from major Software and indeed Hardware vendors in all area of ICT while encouraging Nigerians to step up their efforts in the area of ICT.
Nigeria cannot develop technologically if the focus on ICT today is based on computerizing government agencies alone. A computer will not turn an inefficient worker into an efficient one but a computer can make a dishonest perform commit fraud faster and easily.
Public schools should have computer labs, access to the internet must be made cheaper and access to software must be looked into to reduce the cost of getting them unless the current trend of buying and using pirated software is cool with the government and the vendors for that matter.
However, most pirated software will not come with the much needed support from the vendor should problems arise and believe me they do in reality. Funny enough Microsoft is slashing the price in its effort to fight piracy in China. Is it that Microsoft has not heard that there is piracy of its products in Nigeria too?
On a final note, Software development and sales do not end with the banking, insurance and manufacturing sectors as it seems that most indigenous Software developers are only focusing on these areas.
There is indeed a much greater promise in the area where many are not looking at for now, the common man. Anyone that can develop a software that the average man on the street will need and indeed use will become the next big thing in Nigeria.
But until tools to develop solutions that can make this happen are made accessible to those who require the tools nothing tangible can be achieved.