Microsoft makes big bets in India on Windows Phone

Kellogg Brengel

Microsoft makes big bets in India on Windows Phone

Much to the chagrin of many Windows Phone enthusiasts, Microsoft has been primarily focusing on more budget friendly Lumias in lieu of flagship devices since their acquisition of Nokia. And while this strategy has not done much to change market share in more developed markets, it has been a integral part of their focus on emerging markets.

And as Saptarishi Dutta reports for the Wall Street Journal, one emerging market where Microsoft is placing significant bets is India. In today’s article Dutta notes that Microsoft’s market share is growing in India with the recent surge in budget friendly models. In the first quarter of 2015 Microsoft claimed “a 4.5% share of smartphone shipments”, up from “3.6% in the last quarter of 2014.”

While these are still overall small numbers compared to Android or even iOS’s market share, Dutta points out that this is above global averages and trends for Windows Phone. And importantly places the context of this modest, yet undoubtedly upward, growth in the context of how well placed Microsoft is in India because of their acquisition of Nokia.

Dutta goes on to say that:

“Nokia was once a household name in the country, having a 60% share of the mobile phone market back in 2005. Over the years, it has built a solid distribution network across the country giving it a wide reach, which today is at par with that of Samsung and Micromax — the two market leaders.”

Additionally, Microsoft in India is currently rebranding 9,000 Nokia stores as Microsoft stores, which will sell more than just phones. And as WinBeta reported last week, Microsoft is also making a substantial push in e-commerce in India with its new partner Snapdeal.

Finally, there was also recognition that to increase market share Microsoft has to be coming at it from both ends, the budget friendly as well as the high-end flagship segment. To this point, Ajey Mehta, head of Microsoft’s mobile devices in India said “if we want to build Microsoft as a strong consumer brand, we need presence at the flagship, high-end segment.” Accordingly, Microsoft is planning to launch flagship phones in India later this year at some point after the release of Windows 10.