[AI] Microsoft pushes W-Mobile in small towns

sweety bhalla sweety.bhalla at ifciltd.com
Wed Sep 5 01:45:27 EDT 2007

Microsoft pushes W-Mobile in small towns

With growth in mobility and mobile penetration levels in tier II and III towns and cities, Microsoft India is looking at a larger chunk of its mobility
business from these regions.

Speaking to Business Standard, Sumeet Gugnani, India business head of mobility at Microsoft, said, "So far, our sales have largely been concentrated in
the metropolitan towns and cities. But with increase in mobile penetration and affordable handsets, we see a lot of business coming from towns like Barddhaman,
Haldia, Durgapur, Asansol, Siliguri in eastern India."

Microsoft launched its Windows mobile phone in July 2006, and so far have sold over a lakh devices till August now.

According to Gugnani, the BPO boom has resulted in mobility growth in towns where it was impossible to imagine sales of 8,000 touch-screens and smart phones
per month.

"What is interesting is that smaller towns like Pune outsold Mumbai during July this year in terms of mobile buyers. This is also because the base is low
and therefore growth is more," Gugnani pointed out.

Moreover, as executives are travelling more often and would vouch for email-on-move, the demand for such hand-held devices have gone up significantly.

Affordability of these mobiles have also played a major role in Microsoft's soaring sales.

Its smart phones and touch-screen mobiles are today available at as low as Rs 11,000 and Rs 14,000 respectively, which used to be Rs 40,000 about three
years ago.

"Typically, the buyer profile for Microsoft phone would be entry-level executives. Most of them these days earn over Rs 20,000 per month and can easily
afford a Rs 14,000 touch-screen Windows mobile," Gugnani added.

By July 2008, Microsoft plans to sell 200,000 devices all over India, through its device partners that include O2, Hewlett Packard and Motorola, among others.

"One advantage Microsoft has over all other mobile phones is that people are already aware of Windows. So the moment you pitch a Windows mobile, Microsoft's
brand recall is very high. This would help us grow our mobility business without heavily investing in advertising," Gugnani added.

(Sweety Bhalla)
Assistant Manager
Mobile No. 09868300466, 09818132488
E-Mail sweety.bhalla at ifciltd.com

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