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February 3, 2015

New Microsoft global survey: changing views on personal tech

Our views on personal technology differ on whether we live in a developed or a developing country, according to Microsoft’s second annual survey of Internet users.

Where would we be without the Internet and our Lumia smartphones, PCs or other tech gadgets? Would we be as able to connect with others and get stuff done if we didn’t have them?

Of course, you already know the answer. If you’re like me, your Lumia is the tech equivalent of the Swiss army knife-–one tool with many, many uses. However, you may be interested to know that our attitudes on the Internet and personal technology going forward differ according to where we live.

Microsoft recently released its second annual survey on Internet users around the world—in advance of the annual World Economic Forum that took place in Davos, Switzerland last month—and the findings illuminate a break between so-called developed and developing countries.

Over all, those surveyed say that personal technology is making the world a better and more innovative place. But respondents’ views differed when asked about personal technology’s impact on relationships, the news media, and getting healthier, among other subjects.


Approximately 12,000 people in five developed countries (France, Germany, Japan, South Korea an the United States) and seven developing countries (Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Russia, South Africa and Turkey) participated in the survey, which was conducted in late December.

Here are a few of the highlights:

Innovation: Sixty-three percent of respondents in developed countries and 76 percent of those in developing countries agree that personal technology has improved innovation in business.

Productivity: In developed countries, 54 percent of respondents think that personal tech has improved productivity. Meanwhile, 71 percent of those in developing countries agree.

Social Bonds: While 60 percent of respondents agree that personal tech has positively impacted relationships, only 36 percent of those in developed countries agree. In addition, 22 percent of those in developed countries say personal tech has had a largely negative impact on social bonds.

Getting healthier: Fifty-seven percent of those in developing countries say that fitness-related apps and devices have helped them get more fit, while 38 percent in developed countries agree. In fact, 62 percent of folks in developed countries say that personal tech has negatively impacted their fitness.

Privacy: Respondents from all over the globe agreed that privacy remains a big concern. Sixty-four percent of respondents in developed countries and 45 percent of those in developing countries say that personal technology has negatively impacted their privacy. For each group, that’s a five-point increase from 2014 survey results.

Go here to read the 32-page report, “Views from Around the Globe: 2nd Annual Poll on How Personal Technology is Changing our Lives,” which was conducted by global-research consultancy Penn Schoen Berland for Microsoft.

What do you think about the research findings? Do your views match those of the respondents from your country?