Catch Vineet Durani, Director, Windows Business Group, Microsoft in a conversation with Sanchit Vir Gogia, Chief Analyst & Group CEO, Greyhound Research on Greyhound Research’s knowledge sharing series ONTrigger.
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Sanchit Vir Gogia: We have had a great conversation about Windows 10, about the entire UI, Multi-tasking, Cortana. We have spoken about Consumer Acceptance, Enterprise Acceptance as well, but now let us talk about India. India is a very important market for Microsoft so much so that it is a standalone geo if I am not mistaken across all other geos across the world. Now what are you expectation from India for Windows 10?
Vineet Durani: Number one the biggest focus we have is the upgrade so we want to make sure all the consumers and the enterprise users out there over a period of next couple of years upgrade to Windows 10 and certainly consumers as fast as they can upgrade they get all the benefits of Windows 10.
We have stated that it is a free upgrade for a year so you pretty much get the opportunity starting July 29th to start upgrading your devices to Windows 10 if you are running Windows 7 or Windows 8. So that is a big focus. A lot of our effort is to drive awareness and educate our customers that they have the best operating system and it is free. So the best ever Windows operating system and you get it for free what better can you get.
SVG: For a year. What happens after that?
VD: So right now we have stated you get it free for a year and then users have the opportunity to avail and see where we go with that one.
SVG: Go figure it out? (laughs)
VD: The second where we are focused on how we get different innovative devices that we have already been focused on for the last six months or so. We have our partners like HP, Dell, Lenovo, Acer, Micromax, iBall and lot of others who are building devices for Windows 10 and you will see them coming to the market as well in the course of next few weeks and months.
Our strategy is really focused on making sure that we get the best of Windows 10 devices as well as very affordable devices running Windows on them so a great example is the Micromax Canvas Laptab priced at INR 14,999, great value for money and another one we just announced recently with iBall is the PC on Stick device which is priceless than INR 9,000 gets you a great PC experience on your existing television.
You see all kinds of innovating devices and a lot of them will be available for the people to see on the 29th as well. So all our fans as well as the media folks will get to see a lot of those devices and we are very focused on that strategy to make sure that you are able to hit new kind of affordably price points and value equations with Windows as far as devices are concerned. So I would look at those two as really big parts of our India focus and India strategy and making sure people upgrade both across consumer and our business customers and leverage the benefits of Windows 10 and the second is really amazing kinds of devices you will see across the ecosystem.
SVG: You mentioned Micromax, you mentioned iBall. That is a huge change for a company like Microsoft that is stepping out of the comfort zone or working with OEMs like DELL, HP of the world and sort of using localized partners and vendors.
VD: Actually we always had that strategy, you always had local partners and we had local partners in lots of other geographies. We had it in India as well with the likes of Wipro, HCL and few other who were always building PCs.
But in the new mobile first ecosystem that sought of first exist in India lot of these new aged brands are building mobile experiences, building mobile devices, this is yet another opportunity for different kinds of form factors that they could experiment with because users are not just focused on just one device. They might have a primary device but they want like I said the mobility experience.
When I go home I sit on my couch and my phone lies somewhere else then I am going to experience entertainment on a big screen for example a PC on Stick is a great way to do that. If I want to a task which requires me to sit in front and do some work then I need a PC experience. We are seeing the emergence of the need that users want to have other devices outside of their phone. The phone obviously is a core primary computing device in India and you need experiences outside of that so how do I do tasks like of I want to study for my exam then I need to have something that I am working on a project then I need to have a keyboard and a mouse experience so where do I get that.
SVG: The content creation part of it requires the keyboard.
VD: Absolutely. Affordability is always been of concern so we are trying to solve for both and that where all of these partners are really critical for us to get to that market and to get to those kind of customers who are not your traditional PC customers only. But they are outside the new age millennia’s who are buying these mobile devices.
SVG: You have overly mentioned about the new kind of partners and who are offering more affordability of devices which does at some stage also impact your OEM pricing to these OEMs.
VD: No actually it makes it even more competitive and lot of our OEM partners from Acer, HP, DELL and Lenovo are also building very affordable devices that reach to different price points. So you have ACER launched a device 2-in-1 priced it around INR 18,000-19,000 about six months back on Windows 8.1 and that did really well. Acer launched a lot of 7-8” tablets based on Windows at really of sub INR 10,000 affordable price points as well. So there are enough examples of our OEMS. For example HP launched stream 11 which is an entry level laptop at INR 19,000. Then obviously everyone has their own pricing strategy and what is the value that they offer against it. But it is also making sure that they also realise that the market is very competitive, it is hyper-competitive so you got to make sure that you hit the right price point and what kind of volumes you can get at those price points.
SVG: Wonderful. Vineet it has been a pleasure talking to you. Thank you very much for your time and good luck with the launch of Windows 10
VD: Thank you