Moumita Bakshi Chatterjee

New Delhi, Oct. 23

CLOSE on the heels of announcing its focus on small and medium businesses (SMB) space with a new licensing program that reduces initial purchase cost by allowing companies to pay for software over a three-year period, Microsoft India is now training its sight on the consumer segment.

The company is chalking out a `retail strategy' as part of which it is considering establishing demo centres or outlets where consumers can get a hands-on experience of the company's technologies.

"The idea is to enable people to come and experience Microsoft technologies. We need to reach out to the consumer and we will work out a strategy to do that, whether its through promotion or retail," Ms Neelam Dhawan, Managing Director, Microsoft Corporate India, said.

She said the centres would be targeted at consumer segment, in particular the home user, and could be implemented through a partnership model. "The concept is not only about seeing Microsoft software at work. It has an ecosystem around it. There must be a PC and Internet connection available at affordable monthly instalments instead of a down-payment. So we need to put the whole system together, first," Ms Dhawan said but declined to spell-out specific details of the strategy.

Stating that devices such as digital cameras and phones are changing the way people use technology, she said, "I believe that in course of time the first PC that an individual uses may be his phone. So our role is to highlight what kind of experience a consumer gets on the phone with Windows Operating System. That's again about a consumer experience."

"Now PC is going to become the hub where photo, music and video clippings will reside. We have to give the consumer the ability to put all these things together," she added.

Microsoft's current range of consumer offerings span products such as Windows Operating System, Office suite, Media players and Media centre.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated October 24, 2005)
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