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Microsoft targets 25 million new Indian users by 2015

Wednesday, 7 May 2014 - 6:30am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna

Windows Phone's partnerships with Micromax, Lava, Karbonn expected from June; tie-ups with Indian telcos by second-half of 2014

Microsoft India, which on Tuesday launched in India its new cloud-based Office 365 Personal suite -- that allows users to sync any two home devices, including iPads with their PCs, is targeting 25 million new Indian consumers within next 12 months for its services and devices business.

At present, the Office 365 has one million users, and generates approximately $2 billion to Microsoft's overall revenues globally. Office 365 Personal is available for sale beginning this week at all major retail outlets such as Croma, Reliance Digital and Jumbo Electronics as well as online on the Microsoft Store.

Chakrapani Gollapali, country general manager, consumer channels group, said, "Today's consumers are seeking a more optimised experience across their phone, tablet and PC and the combined power of Microsoft devices and services provides the best experience they can have today across all these."

On Tuesday, Microsoft also announced an update for its Windows phone – Windows Phone 8.1, which includes new features such as start screen enhancements, three column tiles – compared to two column tiles earlier, seamless Wifi and mobile data detection and syncing for apps downloads and surfing, syncing with Windows PC, improved calendar and typing options, enhanced data storage – including offline storage to external memory card, better battery saving, easier syncing of content, as well as more business user options.

Windows Phone OS, which is only available on Nokia Lumia handsets at present, will be available on Micromax, Lava and Karbonn handsets from June, and with Chinese handset player, Gionee shortly.
Vineet Durani, director, Windows Phone, also said Microsoft Windows Phone, which currently has partnerships with 55 telecom operators worldwide, is yet to tie-up with any India telco – but is in discussions with all operators and should commence announcing partnerships from the second half of the year.

"While we continue to bring down the price of our Window Phone OS-powered devices, we will also ensure all these handsets have 3G capability and we will not go below the Rs 6,000 price point. We will also be actively looking at 4G devices, once the 4G ecosystem becomes more robust in India."

However, Durani said no updates were available on when the Microsoft branded handsets would be available in India.

Windows Phone handsets now stand at number two position in India with a 91% year-on-year growth in shipments, and 3-4 times more devices shipped than Apple, according to Durani, Microsoft has increased its Windows Phone apps to 14,500 – linking with Apple and Android apps store as well. This has helped Microsoft Windows Phone witness a 4.4 times increase in monthly paid app revenue volumes, since the launch of Windows Phone 8.

In addition to Office 365 Personal, and the Windows Phone 8.1 update, Microsoft also showcased a range of updates to its existing services like Venue Maps, in addition to Bing Maps for Bing users, free Skype group video calling on Xbox One, Windows desktop and Mac, and Internet Explorer's 3D FishGL, which is a colorful, nautical-themed WebGL graphics benchmark that's touch-friendly, interactive, and engaging for a better web browsing experience.

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