Specialized Devices & Applications,
Microsoft Corporation (India) Pvt. Ltd.
What are the focus areas of Microsoft Hardware division?
Microsoft Hardware is the entertainment and devices (E&D) division of Microsoft Corp. The Entertainment devices business is the consumer or retail arm of Microsoft. It is internally also known as the retail division of Microsoft. Selling Microsoft products in the retail space, managing and developing retail and channel relationships is what our nature of work is. If any consumer wants to buy a Windows 7 software or the Office 2010 in a box for home use or personal use, they can be bought off the shelf and we are mandated to sell these products. We distribute them through our distributors and our well-organized retail channel. To put it in simply, whatever is sold in retail in terms of software in FPB (Fully Packaged boxes) is what we sell. Furthermore, E&D manages two businesses, the Xbox business (gaming consoles, controllers) and the Hardware business like all the IT and computer peripherals (keyboards, mice, headsets and webcams). All these clubbed together come under the brand of Microsoft Hardware. Globally, this business has been around for 28 years, but in India we have been operating for the last eight years and are still growing.
Brief us on the kind of products offered by Microsoft Hardware?
Microsoft Hardware has been focussing on a lot of technology products. We are responsible for getting high-end technologies into the devices and have been successfully launching these products in India. For instance, we have got the scroll wheel, which is an invention of Microsoft. Apart from that, we focus on three more things while coming with any product for the Indian market. We have got a whole range of products that come in appealing design as also in different colours. We also have got a lot of ergonomic devices, which are very comfortable to use and helps reduce strain from repeated use of that particular device.
In the new product space, we have a large number of new launches. One space that we see ourselves taking the lead is the webcam space. We have the largest range of HD webcams in India. The webcams, which come in the resolution of 16:9, have got interesting features like auto focus and TrueColor that automatically adjusts and enhances light, irrespective of the lighting conditions. We already have three of these webcams available in the market. In January next year, we are thinking of launching world’s first full HD webcam, Studio.
Over the last one year, we have been designing products which are exclusive to the emerging markets like India and China. In the wireless space, we are going to launch three new wireless products. One of them is the wireless optical desktop 800 that comes with a nano receiver, a small size USB receiver that wirelessly connects the PC to the mouse and keyboard. Two exciting mice are also being launched. One is the wireless mobile mouse, which comes with the BlueTrack technology (combination of laser and an optical sensor which allows you to use the mouse on any kind of surface) and the other a nano transceiver (mouse usually comes with an on/off button that helps in saving on battery life).
What kind of strategies do you adopt to tap the retail space?
Retail is an important vertical for us, owing to which we are making huge investments in it. We are investing a lot in the training of our retail partners about our existing as well as new product lines. These trainings will enable them to demonstrate products well and also develop an overall better retail experience that would make an everlasting impact on our consumers.
How important is the enterprise vertical for you?
In eight years of our operations in the Indian market, our focus was primarily on the retail or end-consumers. But, going forward, we see a huge opportunity in the enterprise space. It is not that we are shifting our complete focus to the enterprise, but we want to address both these classes of customers. Reiterating our commitment towards the enterprise class, we have launched a range of UC-certified products and thus exploring this opportunity of getting ourselves attached to this section. We have UC-certified webcams and in January we are launching our UC-certified headsets, too. This opens up a whole new segment for us, because there are a lot of corporate or enterprise customers who are willing to go for these solutions. The enterprise channel will have a big role to play in it.
What kind of a distribution model and after-sales support have you deployed?
We have a well-structured distribution model in the country. We have an exclusive distributor SES Technologies, which is our representative in the Indian market. They have appointed several sub-distributors under them, who eventually sell these products to retailers. The retailers then make these products widely available to the end-customers.
We have one of the best after-sales service, appreciated very much in the industry. We have got 16 of our own exclusive Microsoft service centres, run by our partners across major cities. We cover close-to 40 cities through our distributors for our after-sales service. So, we typically cover almost every major city. We have a 100% replacement service and almost every product of ours comes with 3 years warranty.
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