Is Microsoft the answer to Africa's health woes?

Is Microsoft the answer to Africa's health woes?

Summary: The French group formerly known as Fone+, now combined under Craig Mundie into Microsoft's Unlimited Potential Group, is pushing telemedicine based on inexpensive, but powerful mobile phones.

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Microsoft Research Fone+In my story earlier today I pointed out how African researchers see mobile data networks as the key to improving health outcomes on the world's poorest continent.

The French group formerly known as Fone+, now combined under Craig Mundie into Microsoft's Unlimited Potential Group, is pushing precisely the solution mentioned in our earlier story -- telemedicine based on inexpensive, but powerful mobile phones.

At an event yesterday in Jakarta, headlined by Mr. Bill himself, all this was tied together skillfully, complete with heart-wrenching videos, but linked even more skillfully into Microsoft's ambitions in the health care market.

Critics like those at Gadgettracker may carp, but a concentration on smart phones does link up well with the communications infrastructure of the developing world.

Mobile is it, while anything you can't carry in a pocket can be easily seen, and stolen. That's the reality and Microsoft is simply being realistic in trying to meet it.

The question I have is whether their vision isn't still too big, a Windows Mobile smartphone with a docking station on the handset so a TV can act as a shared display. Can they bring that out at a price competitive with other mobiles?

Years ago I wrote Dana's Iron of Laptops, an ounce on the desk is a pound in my hand. Time to update it with Dana's Iron Law of Smartphones. A dollar up-front may be more than I can afford.

That's especially true in Africa.[poll id=17]

Topics: Health, CXO, Enterprise Software, Hardware, Microsoft, Mobility, Smartphones, Software, IT Employment

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  • Africa is ancient compared to America---

    ---is what is commonly perceived.They're ancient,time locked,incapable of industrializing.The best idea is every country self sustains.
    BALTHOR
    • Where Africa is modern...

      One place where Africa is modern is in mobile networks. In many ways they're ahead of us there, because the networks aren't monopolies, and there's real competition.

      Another way where Africa is modern is in this new trend toward integration. There is serious talk of evolving the African Union into a "EU for Africa," starting with trade and extending into other areas.

      It's an evolutionary process and some way off, but it surprises me whenever I read about Africa how common this concept is becoming...
      DanaBlankenhorn