Microsoft today set the ball rolling for its quest to achieve a greater market share of India’s growing smartphone market with the launch of its first Windows Phone 8.1 smartphones with Micromax. This is the beginning of Microsoft’s partnership with local brands, which includes XOLO and Karbonn as well in India. “We will now have a portfolio of Windows Phone smartphones in India. We should have around 15 devices by the end of this year, including those from Nokia,” Chakrapani Gollapali, country general manager, consumer channels group, told BGR India at the sidelines of Micromax Canvas Win launch event.
The smartphone market in India grew by a whopping 186 percent year on year in the first quarter of 2014, of which around 90 percent were running on Google’s Android operating system. Microsoft’s Windows Phone was the second largest smartphone platform but with single digit market share. Now with these tie-ups with local brands, the Redmond-based software giant is looking to gain some market share away from Android.
Apart from not having enough devices across not only price points but also audience preferences, Windows Phone devices almost never came with the most cutting edge hardware in terms of specifications as well as form factors. Nokia’s first phablets, for instance, were launched only late last year.
To address this, Microsoft along with Qualcomm initiated a reference design program for Windows Phone that would enable third-party brands like Micromax and others to reduce their time to market. Microsoft now has a team sitting out of China that tracks the latest designs, hardware and form factors coming out of ODMs in Shenzhen.
The result has been that smartphone brands can now come out with an Android smartphone and its equivalent Windows Phone version simultaneously. With this Microsoft is aiming to have a number of smartphones with different display sizes and features in the sub-Rs 20,000 price point.
“It is now possible to have a 6-inch Windows Phone phablet around Rs 15,000,” Gollapali said.