Windows support for new rupee symbol leaves out XP users

The Indian rupee symbol is supported on Windows 7 and Vista

Microsoft has released a Windows update that adds support for India's new rupee symbol, but the update excludes a significant number of users who still run Windows XP, according to analysts.

The update released earlier this week adds support for the rupee currency symbol in Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7, and Windows Server 2008 R2, according to a blog post by The Microsoft Office Sustained Engineering Team.

A significant number of Indian users in homes, businesses and government still use Windows XP, said Vishal Tripathi, principal research analyst at Gartner.

Businesses take time to move to a new OS, because applications need to be tested and stabilized before they are moved to a new OS, Tripathi said. Home users tend to stay with the OS that came bundled with their systems, he added.

Computer Factory, a value-added reseller of IT products, for example, still uses Windows XP because the company did not feel the need to migrate to newer office and accounting applications, said Dhananjay Collur, managing director of the company.

A Microsoft spokeswoman said that the company's mainstream support to Windows XP had ended in 2009, when asked why Microsoft had not offered support for the rupee symbol on XP. Nevertheless, up to 45 percent of all users in India still use XP, according to some estimates.

Gartner's Tripathi does not expect that the absence of support for the rupee symbol on Windows XP will trigger a shift by users to newer versions of Windows.

Computer Factory has been applying third-party patches from local developers to Microsoft Office products for the rupee symbol, Collur said. The locally developed accounting software that the company uses already provides support for the rupee symbol, he added.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

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