India Shining: Rupee Symbol Now in MS Windows

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in , at 3/25/2011 07:22:00 PM
Always one to play the foil, let me say that contrary to conventional wisdom among the self-styled digerati, I see no reason to chuck Windows 7 for OS X. Not only is the range of programmes for the former vast, but a smidgen of diligence means you can avoid catching viruses and malware. Yes, you can run software that allows you to run Windows software on a Mac, but it makes little sense to pay extra to run stuff more slowly on a Mac. What is more, ever since Apple switched to Intel from Motorola (PowerPC) processors, the hardware used by both contending operating systems is virtually identical--but Apple charges you significantly more in most instances. Colour me sceptical, and give me Windows 7 over OS X any day. Heck, I run Vista on my four-year-old machine and have had no substantive complaints.

This introduction brings me to further proof that India has arrived on the world stage. Typically, developing markets are not prime Microsoft targets. Among the typical reasons you'll hear are...
  • the market is too small;
  • where there are Windows users, they typically use pirated software;
  • this is because intellectual property laws are not strongly enforced
At one point or another, I am sure software vendors have used these reasons in describing the Indian market. But now it's a different picture altogether. You see, aside from offering software in Hindi, the latest iteration of Windows 7 contains the brand spanking new symbol for the Indian rupee. Currency watchers should be aware of a contest Indian authorities introduced two years ago to create a symbol for India's currency. Finalized just last year, Microsoft is now so confident of India's growing stature that the new character set for Windows worldwide will incorporate it. From Softpedia (!--for the first time ever):
Microsoft has released an update to all supported versions of Windows designed to introduce support for the new currency symbol that will be used from now on for the Indian Rupee. Customers can download variants of KB 2496898 and install the refresh in accordance with the operating system they’re running.

According to the software giant, following the installation of the update, the new currency symbol for the Indian Rupee (which can be seen in the image accompanying this article) will be available in Windows 7 SP1 and RTM, Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 and RTM, as well as Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008...

Of course, the refresh is not limited at introducing the new symbol for the Rupee. The Redmond company revealed that “this update includes font support, locale changes, and keyboard support.” Before the new symbol was adopted by India for its currency, the Rupee was abbreviated as either Rs or Re, although Indian language alternatives also existed.

The Indian government announced a contest for a new currency symbol back in the first half of 2009, and over a year later the winning design was selected. The official Rupee symbol was created by Udaya Kumar Dharmalingam, who based the design on the Devanagari letter र, to which he added an extra horizontal line.

The new Rupee symbol is already a part of Unicode version 6.0, and it only makes sense for Microsoft to also integrate it into copies of the Windows operating system. Take a good long look at the Rupee symbol above, as it will be used to represent India’s currency just as the case for the US Dollar ($), the Japanese Yen (¥), or the Euro (€).
If the Redmond giant takes the Indian market seriously enough to issue a separate update, then I guess we should all take heed of its prospects. You may think it a minor development, but think of the wider ramifications of Microsoft's eagerness to please this particular market. Indian shining, indeed!