Korean OS makers seek to steal customers from Microsoft

16-Jan-2020 Intellasia | KoreaTimes | 6:02 AM Print This Post

With Microsoft officially ending its support for Windows 7, January 14, computer software companies developing operating systems (OS) here are desperately seeking to raise their share in the Microsoft’s Windows OS-dominated market, industry officials said Wednesday.

Small and medium-sized companies such as Tmax, Hancom and Invesume have developed their own OS variants, based on Linux ? a wholly free OS widely used on servers in data centers.

Officials from the software firms said they would take Microsoft ending its support for Windows 7 as a huge opportunity and try to encourage “OS migration” from Windows to their systems, specifically targeting government agencies as well as private companies.

They are promoting their OS as low cost with superiority in terms of cybersecurity compared to Windows 7 which will no longer have software update. They are also seeking to lure more customers to their OS by highlighting that companies can save a significant amount of money by not converting to Windows 10.

Their effort to steal market share from Microsoft is in line with the government’s policy to nurture the local software industry to avoid heavy dependence on the US-based firm’s OS.

Microsoft had an 88.48 percent of share of Korea’s PC OS market as of December 2019, according to data from market tracker StatCounter. According to data from the Korea Internet and Security Agency, Windows 7 accounted for 24.9 percent of the local PC OS market as of September 2019.

While the company had a 99 percent share in 2010, a year after the launch of Windows 7, the 2019 figure seems to offer a much more doable “window” for local software developers.

Among local software firms, Tmax is promoting its Linux-based TmaxOS, offering a number of promotions such as giving out free-to-use coupons and discounts when receiving technical maintenance support.

“For customer companies who are seeking to convert their PC OS from Windows 7 to TmaxOS, they can save up to 50 percent of the total cost of ownership,” a Tmax official said. “We are currently offering a 3+3 promotion for customers, which enables them to use our TmaxOS for free for three months and extend the free trial period for the following three months if they want to.”

For non-business users, TmaxOS is free to use, but the company charges government agencies and companies a licensing fee. Thanks to the Microsoft’s end of technical support for Windows 7, Tmax is increasingly signing new contracts.

“Currently, the Korea Agency for Infrastructure Technology Advancement and Korea Post are our main customers in the government organisation sector. Though we are not able to unveil names, private firms in the manufacturing and financial sectors are also increasingly using our TmaxOS,” the official added.

Hancom, best known for its Hangul World Processor software, is also improving its share in PC OS market with the Gureum system.

Developed by the National Security Research Institute (NSRI), the Gureum platform is an open-source OS. About 30 local companies have joined the platform. Hancom joined the project in 2015.

“The strongest sales point of the Gureum OS is we are working with the National Security Research Institute. This assures our customers that we will be able to agilely respond to any possible cybersecurity threats,” a Hancom official said.

The Gureum OS is mainly used by government agencies such as the Korea Institute of Marine Science and Technology Promotion, Korea Post, the Republic of Korea Naval Academy and the Korean National Police Agency, the official added.

Local software firm Invesume is also providing its open-source OS HamoniKR, targeting government agencies.

In 2014, the government developed the OS to reduce its heavy dependence on Microsoft and Invesume has been in charge of providing software updates and technical support for users.

“HamoniKR has been used in government organisations such as the Ministry of National Defense and universities. We are witnessing that the number of downloads of the OS slightly increased after Microsoft ended technical support for Windows 7,” an Invesume official said.

“We expect more government organisations will use HamoniKR because this OS is free. We charge those users when they ask us to offer technical maintenance support. If those customers have their own technicians they don’t need to call us for support.”

However, an official from an IT company here said it will be hard the local firms to improve their shares in the OS market simply because people have been using the Windows OS for so long and popular applications such as games are designed only to be run on the system.

“Even though local firms are trying to raise their share, there won’t be a mass OS migration. Local developers are still being criticised for low application compatibility, which make it hard to use applications such as messenger and office, and games running on Windows OS, on their own OS,” the official said.



Category: Korea

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