Mobiles & Tablets

We want to grow the affordable smartphones segment: Microsoft Devices

S Ronendra Singh New Delhi | Updated on March 12, 2018

Ajey Mehta, Managing Director, Microsoft Devices, during the launch of Lumia 830 and Lumia 730 in New Delhi on Wednesday. - KAMAL NARANG

Microsoft Devices on Wednesday launched Lumia 830 and 730 dual-SIM smartphones priced at ₹28,799 and ₹15,299, respectively. Ajey Mehta, who has been appointed recently as the Managing Director, said that his priority will be to develop the market for Windows’ phones, apart from launching new products in the feature phone segment. In an interview with BusinessLine, he speak about future plans and brand Nokia. Edited excerpts:

What will be your broad agendas as the new MD?

My agenda is to make the market for Windows phones. That is my single point agenda. We need to make the market for Windows phones, grow the Windows ecosystem, share of Windows phones in the overall smartphones space and that is where I am going to focus.

What would happen to Asha series and feature phones?

That will continue. Our long-term strategy is both in smartphones and mobile phones (feature phones).

What we want to grow is the affordable smartphones segment. As we go forward, the lines will start to blur as we bring down the price points between feature and smartphones.

But if you bring down prices difference between smartphones and feature phones wouldn’t that cannibalise each other?

We will have to manage it because at the end of the day, we want to grow Lumia, and we want to grow Lumia in the affordable smartphones space. As the affordable smartphones go down in price points — we will have to make sure that we are also present over there.

Brand Nokia had deep consumer connect, so how will you make sure Microsoft becomes as big a brand?

The Nokia brand continues in the entry and feature phones for the next 10 years.

In the smartphones space, we are likely to transition out of it. But, we do have the ability to leverage whatever legacy we have with Nokia and get the people to move over to Lumia.

That is an opportunity we have internally in marketing which we are going to work on. And, there we will try and build the smartphones going forward, on the back of whatever we have done with Nokia.

Overall, we are working closer with Microsoft than ever before and that only gives us massive opportunity to grow the Windows phones ecosystem. We are working on projects together across the value chain – be at product development stage or retail.

What’s happening to the apps ecosystem? Google and Apple have strong ecosystem with Android One and iOS. Do you see any threat from them?

We will continue to invest on apps development. We will continue to make sure that we have apps that are locally relevant and relevant to the consumer. We are adding more than 500 apps everyday to the Windows Store and we already have more than three lakh apps in that store. On the threat part, we will make sure to offer affordable smartphones and we will be definitely an aggressive player in that space. The affordable smartphones are exploding and we need to be able to deliver those services and apps in that segment and that is what we are going to focus on.

Do you plan to use the e-commerce platform for selling phones?

Our strategy is very clear – we have a physical distribution infrastructure, which we have grown and which we believe is the strength for us. What we will do is, we will balance our channels and make sure that one channel supplements the other. We will approach all channels, but ensure that there is minimum conflict between those channels. How we will do it, will depend on case to case basis, but clearly we want to have multi-channel approach where we have balance across channels. It is an ongoing thing and we will make sure that it grows the size of pie of our business and growth overall.

Published on October 01, 2014

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