Microsoft officially launched Windows 8 in Mumbai on Monday. Bhaskar Pramanik, chairman, Microsoft India and Amrish Goyal, director – Windows Business Group, spoke to media on the sidelines of the event. Excerpts:
What is your strategy to market Windows 8 in India?
Bhaskar Pramanik: We have made available 250 Windows 8 devices, including 23 new SKUs (stock keeping units) of Windows 8 PCs in over 2,500 retail stores, across 100 cities in India. Besides, we have also partnered with 14 OEMs (original equipment manufacturers), and we have versions for tablet and mobile devices – namely Windows RT and Windows 8 mobile, besides the regular Windows 8 for PCs and laptops. We also have Indian language content and apps customised to Indian demand. Besides, we are also expecting to launch a lot more devices in the next 12 months.
When will the Windows 8 mobile version be available?
BP: We are announcing the global launch of the Windows 8 mobile OS on Tuesday (today). We have tied up with most handset vendors for the same.
What about Microsoft’s Surface tablet?
Amrish Goyal: Surface has been launched in eight countries. The India launch date has not been confirmed yet.
What is the pricing across the spectrum for Windows 8 available with OEM devices?
AG: The pricing for the 250 devices currently running on Windows 8 ranges from Rs23,000 to Rs1 lakh. The retail price for the Windows 8 PC package (not the upgrade) is Rs11,999.
Considering that Microsoft will stop all support for any OS launched prior to Windows 7 after April 2013, how will you persuade enterprise users to upgrade?
BP: While at the retail level we are offering two versions – namely Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro – for enterprise customers who have signed up for software assurance, we also offer the Windows 8 Enterprise, with special features like a bundled dongle called Windows To Go, DirectAccess and BranchCache, and enhanced security features like BitLocker and AppLocker.
AG: Besides, we also have two offers available for customers who wish to upgrade from Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7. For those who have purchased PCs with any of the above OS between June 2, 2012 and January 2013, the upgrade to Windows 8 is priced `699. For any upgrade to Windows 8, from an OS purchased before June 2, 2012, the cost will be Rs1,999.
What has been your investment on developing the Windows 8 platform? What kind of sales are you expecting for the same?
BP: Per year, Microsoft’s R&D investment is about $9 billion. As per our global CEO, Steve Ballmer, we are expecting sales of over 450 million Windows 8 devices globally in the first one year of the launch.