All Eyes On Microsoft India: Will Anant Help Turn The Page?

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It takes one brain to dream of change but many a handful to turn it into a reality.

Satya Nadella has done exceptionally well to dream up a new and improved Microsoft and steer the company strategy accordingly. However, the company’s ability to actualise this on the ground still remains to be largely work-in-progress and in many ways a distant dream. Albeit this applies to nearly all Global markets, it is particularly true for India.

Microsoft India is undergoing significant leadership changes at a time when the company is up against aggressive competition from both old and new vendors alike. The list includes AWS, Google, IBM, SAP, Oracle, VMware, Ramco, MobileIron, among others. Falling in close heels after Karan Bajwa’s recent departure from his post of Managing Director, the current Microsoft India Chairman Bhaskar Pramanik is set to retire. Replacing Bhaskar, Anant Maheshwari will join Microsoft India as President starting 1 September 2016.

With Karan’s departure and now Bhaskar’s upcoming retirement, Microsoft India can well be expected to find itself at crossroads.

Sanchit Vir Gogia, Chief Analyst and CEO of Greyhound Research believes “that here on the company can either treat Anant Maheshwari’s entry as a fresh beginning and infuse much needed new ideas under a new leadership or else choose to run business-as-usual and not challenge the status quo. At Greyhound Research we believe it should be the former.”

Microsoft India is facing intense competition in the Cloud business. The company’s decision to provide Microsoft Azure and Office 365 from local data centres in India was expected to drive public and hybrid cloud adoption.

However, per a recent Greyhound Research global, independent study titled, Cloud Adoption Index 2016, 70% Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) and Start-ups in Asia Pacific including Japan (APJ) region stated their intent to use (or continue using) AWS because of its strong ecosystem base which lends them more opportunities for monetisation.

The competitive pressure is not limited to the Cloud alone. Greyhound Research’s ongoing tracking of the market shows that the company has received lukewarm market response to Windows 10 and Surface Pro 4.

Per Greyhound Research estimates, Microsoft India has only managed to sell the latter in a count of few hundreds, let alone thousands.

The situation is also tough for Dynamics CRM and ERP.

“Despite the company’s best efforts to make architectural changes to their CRM and ERP products to make them better suited for a MobileFirst, CloudFirst era, Greyhound Research believes the company is yet to make sufficient progress,” said Anshoo Nandwaani, Vice President and Principal Analyst with Greyhound Research.

Separately, not all is hunky dory in the Consumer business. By Microsoft Leadership’s own admission, the Windows phone hardware business has seen only limited success and continues to struggle with its flagship gaming offering Xbox. The company has lost critical ground to competition and written off in excess of USD 10 billion along with the need to reduce its workforce. In June 2015, the company approved a restructuring plan that eliminated approximately 7,400 positions in fiscal year 2016, primarily in their phone hardware business.

Despite these losses, the company claims to be focusing on value phone markets targeted at business buyers. They aim to offer better security and manageability driven on the back Windows 10 that is touted to be a device agnostic Operating System (OS). Greyhound Research believes while this sounds near ideal, it is still a theory based on one key assumption that business buyers buy mobile devices primarily for security reasons.

How Can IT Decision Makers Make The Right Choice For Their Organisations?

To know more about the increasing competition that Microsoft India is facing in Enterprise deals and the hurdles it faces in its Consumer business, read our freemium Greyhound Sprint Report titled, About Time Microsoft India Delivers A Yorker!

To know more about Greyhound Research global, annual Buy-side and Sell-side trackers such as Cloud Adoption Index among others, please write to our Client Centricity Team at

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  1. I am wondering why Microsoft India is bringing in a President to replace Chairman? And why no one has replaced Karan Bajwa as the MD yet? Any thoughts?

    1. Hello Arun, thanks for your comment. You ask some very pertinent questions and I also echo your sentiment. While I am not the best placed person to answer this and such topics are always confidential to the company in question, but IMHO this does very strongly reflect on a Global company’s intent for it’s subsidiary. Getting a President to replace a Chairman and a COO in place of an MD does put out strong indications of the Indian subsidiary losing its stature in the overall scheme of things. But then, let’s do remember there is always a broader reasoning and strategy at play that folds out in due course.

  2. totally agree with your comment about Surface Pro4 I recently bought one in the US and struggling with buggy Windows 10!!!

    1. Hi Susan, thanks for sharing your experience. Please do share more specifics about the issues you are experiencing with Surface Pro 4 and Windows 10.

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