Microsoft Bets Big on Tablets in India With New Budget Offerings

Microsoft Bets Big on Tablets in India With New Budget Offerings
Software giant Microsoft is placing big bets on tablets to drive adoption of its Windows 8.1 platform on smart devices in the country.

The US-based firm, which acquired devices and services business of Nokia earlier this year, expects Windows-powered tablets to do especially well in segments like educational institutions and small and medium businesses (SMBs).

"Previously, there were devices that were launched at extremely low prices but failed to deliver quality experience.

The devices that are coming now offer much better experience and we are confident that Windows platform will do well," Microsoft India Director (Windows Business Group) Vineet Durani told PTI.

He added that with different devices makers launching Windows-powered tablets at various price points, consumers will have more options to choose from.

"Tablets are both a productivity and an entertainment device. It has the mobility of a smartphone and lets you create content as you would on a PC. PC penetration is still low in India, but tablets can help bridge that gap," he said.

Talking about the segments that Microsoft is targeting, Durani said a lot of growth for Windows platform (on tablets) will come from educational institutions and SMEs.

He added that with prices falling to as low as Rs. 8,000 (for Windows-based tabs) by year-end, the market will continue to expand.

According to industry body MAIT, tablet PC witnessed a muted growth of 76 percent in 2013-14 compared to triple digit growth in the last two years as fewer entry-level models were introduced.

The sales for 2013-14 stood at 3.35 million units as against 1.9 million units in 2012-13.

MAIT expects the segment to grow only by about 27 percent in FY 2014-15 as consumers opt for more higher screen sized smartphones.

However, players like Microsoft and chip maker Intel are confident of a revival in demand and sales of tablets (devices with screen sizes above 6.99 inches), driven by new form factors like 2-in-1s.

Besides homegrown players, many multinational firms like Samsung, Lenovo and Asus have launched tablets in the last few months to cash in on the opportunity.

According to CyberMedia Research, over 7.46 lakh tablets were sold in the January-March 2014 quarter by as many as 30 domestic and international vendors. Samsung, Apple and Datawind were the top three players.

(Also see: Low-cost tablets drive sales in India to 4.14 million in 2013: IDC)

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