is today a major player in the new knowledge economy with software exports
touching $4 billion and a vibrant domestic and exports oriented software
industry. There is no doubt that the humble PC coupled with the Internet has
played a major role in bringing a large number of Indians to the forefront of
the knowledge economies. The five-million PC mark in India is being reached at a
time when Intel has launched its eighth generation of processors, the Pentium 4.
The PC revolution, which started in India in the late 80s, has already gone
through seven generations, starting from the humble 8088 to today’s Pentium
The Internet has been both a major gainer as well as a driver of the PC
penetration in the country. In 1995 when the Internet was launched, the PC
penetration in India was just over a million, with most PCs in the lowest
configuration, which could barely support the browser and TCP stack required for
an Internet connection. Windows 3.11 at that time had no TCP/IP stack support.
The Internet has been indeed a major inducement for the corporates and
individuals to buy more and more PCs, which coupled with falling prices has now
brought India to a stage of a PC penetration of five per 1,000.
The number of PCs at five million still remains far below the true potential
which is reflected of over 27 million telephone lines and over 70 million TV
sets in the country.
The e-com and Internet movement has now really taken roots, and PCs are being
added at the rate of over 1.5 million a year. The time has come when even
individuals recognize the real value of a desktop or laptop PC coupled with the
Internet as a major tool of productivity and keeping in touch. We believe that
the growth of Internet in the country, which is slated to rise to 10 million
customers by 2003, would be largely based on the growth of the PC penetration in
the country which will form the bedrock for supporting Internet access. TVs with
set-top boxes and mobiles with WAP access will add up to less than 5%
penetration in the next two years. The new capabilities of the Pentium 4 will
unleash a new range of opportunities powered, for the first time, of realistic
video and audio streaming Internet games and graphic and image manipulation.
This will lead to a demand for higher Internet speeds and turn out to be a
harbinger of new applications in a resurgent era of Internet and computing.