MANILA, FEBRUARY 29, 2008 (STAR) By Rhia de Pablo - Open Source operating systems still finds it hard to penetrate the market as information and communication technology end-users are now deeply habituated with Microsoft software and systems, this according to an executive of a distribution firm.

“Microsoft sales are still high and their software is still widely used by the market. It has become the standard for operating systems and open source still hasn’t peaked yet although there are already several out in the market,” said Gigi R. Echavia, general manager of WSi Technologies, Incorporated in an interview.

Open source software are operations that can be freely distributed and allows modifications of derived works. Echavia said that this negative sales inventory for open source systems might be accredited to the fact that the market is still not ready to go into open source.

“Most end-users who tried using open source are those with patience and those who have a knack in trying out new things,” she said.

WSi Technologies, Inc. is a distributor of software and applications; they also have line of hardware products such as networking equipments like routers, and they also sell printers.

Echavia noted that in terms of software, the graphic market composes the huge bulk of their client base. Products in-demand under this category include: Adobe design products and also Corel. Demand for AutoCAD products she said is also increasing.

But because of the wide spread problem on piracy, Echavia pointed out that distributors like them are also faced with a difficulty to achieve considerably higher sales because most end-users utilized unlicensed software these days.

“There is a huge demand for these products and there is indeed a potential for this market so there is a need for us to aggressively fight piracy to grow our businesses,” said Echavia.

As distributor of licensed software, Echavia sees a big responsibility in creating awareness to their client base. She said that from time to time they hold awareness events and do licensing programs to their resellers so that the idea of anti-piracy will sink in.

Believing so much with the potential of Cebu to become the next IT hub in Asia, Echavia said that the industry needs to tap the right people and provide good educational and training foundation for their manpower.

“The IT industry is now in a state of boom. The end-users now have a lot of choices brought about by stiff competition, they have also become more price and quality conscious which in turn poses as a challenge to us players to provide them with the best,” said Echavia.

As shown by 2007 sales inventory for operating systems, Echavia said that more end-users these days are trying to go for licensed and genuine software. She added that with the strong anti-piracy campaigns done by industry players these days, more end-users and firms are starting to abide with BSA’s licensing compliance program.

With this growing market, Echavia is optimistic that their sales will grow this year especially that more big companies are starting to operate in the area. These new firms she said will be their target market since most of them will definitely need software and hardware to start their ventures.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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