It was a busy year for Microsoft India. First came two high profile visits:
Microsoft CTO Craig Mundie with 25 executives, last October, followed by CEO
Steve Ballmer in November. And the year ended with HP’s sales chief Neelam
Dhawan joining in as managing director of Microsoft India Sales, replacing Rajiv
Kaul, who moved back to Redmond.
Growth was gentle in its “core area”: PC operating systems and
suites, thanks to the expected issues: piracy, and inroads by Linux, and despite
explosive growth in its key partner constituency: the branded MNC PC vendors.
Much of the growth was in the other areas: servers, database, business apps.
This enterprise/institutional focus is likely to continue.
The company continued its solution-centric approach in India. It launched a
reporting solution product ‘Score-Office as Smart Client’ which provides
updated support and features to users of other ERP or legacy systems. For
instance, it integrates exception reporting and dashboards, out of the box. The
company also launched BizTalk Server 2004, its integration server offering for
In peripherals, Microsoft launched a range of “biometric-enabled”
hardware like mouse and keyboards: wireless optical desktop comfort edition
mouse, optical desktop unit with fingerprint reader; wireless intelliMouse
explorer with fingerprint reader, etc.
The company’s focus on SMBs continued with products from its Navision
acquisition, Axapta and Navision. Microsoft plans to develop more partners who
can deploy the solution in the SMB segment.
Microsoft’s growth last fiscal was driven by the banking, government and
telecom sectors. It continued its association with e-governance initiatives like
the Bhoomi project in Karnataka, NCRB, the Postal Department, Project Bhasha and
Project Shiksha, which has now been rolled out in seven states (with $20 mn
invested by Microsoft last year).
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer also concluded multi-million dollar software
partnerships with two of India’s leading outsourcing firms Infosys and Wipro
during his visit to India last November. The deals came amid increased efforts
by Microsoft to retain its hold in the Indian market in the face of growing
competition from the promoters of Linux.
Microsoft’s 28-acre India development center, the largest software
development campus outside the US, was also inaugurated in the last fiscal at
Hyderabad. Last year, the roughly 500-member product development team at the
R&D center filed 40 patents.