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Windows Mobile OS No.2 in India, scale push is next

Saturday, 2 November 2013 - 1:21pm IST | Agency: dna

IDC numbers show Windows phones are the second-most widely used smartphone platform in India with a market share of 5.4%, ahead iOS and BlackBerry. Riding on a successful partnership with Nokia, Vineet Durani, director Windows Phone Category, discusses with Dhwani Pandya its competition with Android, plans for scaling up volumes and the phablet versus PC game panning out in India. Edited excerpts:

After Nokia, any plans to tie up with any other handset manufacturer for Windows OS phone?
We continue to look for partners to build devices across the entire spectrum, starting from PCs, laptops and tablets. For phones, we have partners like HTC, and we will look for more, but at this time I don’t have anything to share whether there are any other partnership or plans outside of Nokia.

Your strategy for tie-ups?
We have a strategy to build first party devices. For example, on the tablet side, we have our own first party device Surface, which we launched in some markets across the world and we continue to have partners like Dell, HP building a tablet as well, so consumers get choice. In the case of phones also, it will transpire in a similar way. So, we will have devices available from other manufacturers as well as from our Nokia deal.

What were your primary goals, have they been achieved and the next set of goals?

When we started the partnership with Nokia, the clear intention was to build a third ecosystem, we can safely say two years later, we are the third ecosystem, we are the number 2 in India and number 3 worldwide. We are getting a lot of accolades for our efforts on the entry-level price point. Of course, the next thing is to get more volumes and be more successful.

As far as competition goes, how far Windows OS has come?

IDC points to our market share as 5.4% in India as of April-June 2013. If you look at the all form factor PCs, tablets and phones, we have a 25% share... we are very happy where we are today, but obviously there is a long way to go... In some of the markets in Europe, we are already in a double-digit share, close to 20%.

We are very clear, getting stickiness with the consumer is more important than just building market share. Our research shows that lots of people who bought Android earlier are preferring Nokia 520 due to performance issues. So, you want to build an experience for smartphones irrespective of the price customers are paying.

Have you missed the bus?
Absolutely not. We are there at the right time, we are, very surely, even though seemingly slow to some people, progressing towards our goal. It’s important for us to get the right performance and quality for our product. This is a journey and not a race.

What is the India strategy to push Windows phone sales?
One is obviously have the right product at a right price. Partner Nokia, which keeps getting new devices in to the market... Bringing more devices is definitely one thing. Another is offering the right kind of services to those devices in terms of apps and games.

In India people don’t like spending too much money outside what they paid for device. So, all Windows phones have different offers from Nokia. For example, getting 9 million songs free at purchase of device. So, these are India-specific highly localised strategies.

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