Highfield: UK is a tech savvy nation

Highfield - a key figure in UK tech
Highfield - a key figure in UK tech

Ashley Highfield has told TechRadar that Britain is a tech savvy nation – with the Microsoft UK consumer and online MD believing that the UK has global importance.

A senior figure in Microsoft, Highfield is still perhaps best known for his part in the hugely successful iPlayer whilst he was at the BBC.

And it appears that the UK's willingness to adopt new technology and the nation's enthusiasm for technology is powerful enough to make it number two on Microsoft's global list.

Really important market

"The UK market is really important," Highfield told TechRadar at the launch of the Windows Collection.

"We are [Microsoft's] number two market and the understanding is that the British consumer is very tech savvy.

"For instance we know that the penetration of broadband usage is very high and that in terms of Facebook usage, London is the heaviest anywhere."

Design love

Highfield believes that, although the UK market loves the technology, design remains a key factor in deciding the kind of technology that we buy.

To that end Microsoft is keen that the Windows Collection – a UK project that has seen the company choose 30 key PC products to highlight to the consumer – is a success.

"We are a country that is very design conscious and therefore, if we want the PC to compete, we are going to have to dial up the aesthetics of the machines.

"The UK loves technology and innovation so we will have to lead with devices like the Kinect and other things that push our innovation to the fore, rather the competing solely on price.

"We're keen to play in the area of design aesthetics."


Highfield says that the UK is an ideal nation to take the lead on something like the Windows Collection – and that it is a market where the consumer will put aside cynicism about Microsoft's selection to see the benefits.

"The Windows Collection is about showcasing the best machines in key areas," added Highfield

"The PC is at the heart of the home network, and people want a personal machine that is personalised for them.

"We have 30 computers from nine different OEMs and we are hoping that we are showing that where others are zigging, we are zagging."

Patrick Goss

Patrick Goss is the ex-Editor in Chief of TechRadar. Patrick was a passionate and experienced journalist, and he has been lucky enough to work on some of the finest online properties on the planet, building audiences everywhere and establishing himself at the forefront of digital content.  After a long stint as the boss at TechRadar, Patrick has now moved on to a role with Apple, where he is the Managing Editor for the App Store in the UK.