By: Rajneesh De & Zaheeb Ajmal
Monopoly is a word that has often been used for Microsoft in the world of business. Since more than three decades back when Bill Gates pioneered Windows (many critics still pan it as a bad Steve Jobs ripoff), Microsoft has been the de-facto OS on every foreseeable screen on this planet. And the history thereafter has been littered with Microsoft crushing competitors and monopolizing a particular domain. The battle for the browser in the late 90s when Internet Explorer edged out Netscape navigator is a typical example.
The irony is that Microsoft’s own thunder has been stolen by the new benchmark of monopoly (it goes by the name Google). Google’s Android for handheld devices has earned itself the distinction of being this era’s most popular interface between man and machine. And this increasingly is a game Microsoft is losing out.
This was precisely the reason the $87 bn software major purchased more than one year back Nokia’s mobile phone division for $7.2 bn; nonetheless Microsoft has only 3% sliver of the global market for handsets. No wonder therefore that just ahead of the launch of Windows 10, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella outlined a game plan for the handheld era. Nadella announced a triple-point action plan. Firstly, Windows 10 was projected to be versatile enough to operate on every kind of device to get one ‘unifying experience’,
as he put it. Second, the company has some clever software applications and platforms up its sleeve to enhance efficiency in new ways, a play for tech-savvy usage at the market’s upper end. And lastly, it aims to set up a ‘smart cloud’, presumably with enough memory
space and processor power to wirelessly enable heavyduty applications.
Our strategy continues to be what we
had announced about two years ago;
this is about ‘devices and services’.
And that vision and mission is
unchanged – Karan Bajwa
MD, Microsoft India
While the jury is still out on whether this will restore Microsoft’s monopoly in an increasingly Google-fied world, the fact (and this even the stringent Microsoft bashers cannot deny) of the matter is Microsoft has not just redefined its own paradigm but if it succeeds could possibly reshape the entire world of technology.
MICROSOFT INDIA: FY15 BIRD’S EYE VIEW
With Satya Nadella at the helm, Microsoft India continues to be an important cog in the company’s overall wheel. The company continued its growth momentum during the
fiscal 2015 in the Indian market with a solid 19% growth. The global leadership continues to bet big on India and with Nadella’s growing focus on India (especially after the meet with PM Modi in San Jose) has helped the company renew its focus with big investments in the country that will help Microsoft to double its business from different verticals including the government. Eyeing a big chunk of government business in India, Microsoft earlier last year announced an investment of Rs 1,400 crore to set up three datacenters in India.
Our partners are either product
specialists or they could be industry
specialists or even segment specialists.
Microsoft survives on channel and
our model is fundamentally not about
fulfillment —Samik Roy, Director and Country Head-Microsoft Dynamics (Applications) Business, Microsoft India
Microsoft will therefore be able to provide data storage within the country for various government and other organizations. The move is expected to provide an edge over the other software vendors which are still exploring opportunities to set up datacenters in the country. The datacenters are expected to help the company to expand its Azure business in India. Besides, the company grew its software revenues in the country and maintained its leadership position in the Indian market. According to Gartner, Microsoft maintained
its #1 position in software revenues in India, accounting for 25% of the overall sales in 2014. The company earned more than $1 bn from the software business alone. Since April 2013, the company has been manufacturing, replicating, marketing, and selling Microsoft software retail products and services in India.
We are the only company that caters to
everyone. In fact, we are only vendor in
the country to have on-premise, pure
cloud and hybrid cloud. And to enable
customers to leverage on all the models,
we operate through our partners – Meetul Patel, GM, Small & Mid-Market Solutions &
Partners, Microsoft India
“The share of marketing support services has declined from 87% of revenue in the year ended March 2013 to 4% in the current year,” the company said in the filing. Microsoft is trying to sell its cloud services and offerings in India and has bagged a lot of customers from mid to large companies for various cloud offerings, including Office 365.
But while the company has been aggressively pushing its cloud platform Azure in India, experts feel it still has a long way to go before it catches up to nimbler rival Amazon Web Services, which has had immense success bringing small and medium enterprises on board in the country. But its investment in three datacenters is going to give a boost to its cloud business in India. There are already encouraging signs of cloud adoption for Microsoft India as it claims to register triple digit growth in the country. This is in line with the growth being registered by Microsoft Corp globally.
We are focusing on the offerings for
business segments with enhanced
security features. For example, Outlook
on Windows 10 phones has a great
enhanced look —Ajey Mehta
Director Microsoft Mobile Devices, Microsoft India
In the last one year, Microsoft India partnered with the Government of India for various projects. A major project it bagged was from the Surat Municipal Corporation to transform Surat into a smart city. Further, it launched Edu Cloud, a cloud computing-based offering to enhance digital learning and teaching in schools and higher education institutions. This is expected to benefit 10 lakh teachers and 60 lakh students in 1,500 institutes.
Besides, the company introduced unlimited OneDrive storage for all Office 365 subscribers, entered a strategic partnership with Dropbox, launched Skype for Business, and introduced Xbox One for its broad fan base in India in September 2014. Microsoft’s India strategy is centered around the untapped SMB and SME class for its Office 365 and other offerings. It has got an early success and is one of the leading cloud providers for the mid and small segments today in India. Microsoft India has yet to resuscitate the Windows business. It is hoping big on Windows 10 but doubts persist among industry observers and analysts.
One new capability we bring with
Windows 10 is that every time you
have a new update, it is related to
somewhat enhancing your hardware
capabilities. This allows everyone to
make money in the channel ecosystem —Vineet Durani Director-Windows Business, Microsoft India
Even though Windows sales were stable in FY15 after the XP refresh, the company kept on pushing Windows 8.1 along with Office to entice consumers and revive sales. However, its biggest bet now is on Windows 10 which is being launched in July 2015. With the changed revenue model for the upcoming Windows, it aims to garner significant customer interest.