Despite the presence of a large number of local mobile handset-makers, Microsoft India is not very keen to enter into technology tie-ups with them for its Windows Phone.

According to Mr. Bhaskar Pramanik, Chairman, the local handset makers (called original equipment makers), do not have the necessary technological specifications that would make Microsoft keen to partner them.

“The Windows Phone requires a specification for the user experience. We want to give the same kind of experience that Apple has. This limits the number of manufacturers who can build a product around that,” Mr Pramanik said.

Local mobile handset-makers such as Micromax, Spice, Karbon and Lava are already dominant players in the Indian mobile handset market. The handset-market, according to market sources, is pegged at nearly Rs 33,000 crore.

“I think till they (local handset makers) can design and build a product with that level of specification, yes it is a challenge for them,” he added. Mr Pramanik was speaking on the sidelines of a book launch, To The Cloud, here in the city.

While most handset-makers still opt for the Java platform, others, however, use the Android operating system.

Pricing

“We want to cater to the real smartphone segment of the country,” Mr Pramanik said pointing out that by real smartphones he was referring to the high end category.

According to him, the high-end smartphone category is expected to sell around 14 million units this fiscal in India.

Denying that high pricing was an issue for the Windows Phone, he said the user experience determines the price of the product.

“We want to give the same user experience (as Apple) but across different platforms. It's for the user to choose,” he added. Currently, HTC, Samsung and Nokia have Windows-enabled smartphones.

Software Piracy

According to Mr Pramanik, there has been a substantial drop in software piracy of Microsoft operating systems (windows) and products. There also has been a greater attachment of the original software with the laptop, PC or net-book purchases.

“Intellectual property laws now protect IT. And as India progresses, there will be substantial decrease in piracy,” he added.

Mr Pramanik said the government should focus on issues faced by the Indian information technology (IT) industry, which despite its tremendous potential is suffering.

“The country has some major issues and challenges. I am hoping that the government will start focusing on some of the issues very seriously,” he said, adding that there are a lot of issues regarding taxation and policy.

“I think the latest Finance Act is trying to rectify some of those. Let's see what happens,” he said.

According to him, the industry wants a stable and predictable policy and regime.

“We want less ambiguity, clear guidelines, clear policies and an environment where everybody can do business successfully and legally,” he added.

abhishek.l@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on May 11, 2012)
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