Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is stepping up its focus on the Indian market. The company recently launched its own digital store on Snapdeal, which is one of India’s top e-commerce sites. From Microsoft’s store, one can buy PC’s, Lumia phones, tablets and software.
Digital store, not new for Microsoft
It’s not the first time that Microsoft is coming up with an online store on a third-party site. In 2013, it had a store on eBay in the US, and last year it entered into a similar deal with Amazon India. But a store with Snapdeal will be more like a mirror of its own site, filled with “exclusive products [and] offers.” Microsoft has been selling software through its own sites for years now, but a deal with Snapdeal, clearly suggests that the US firm has big hopes for the market in India.
Sharlin Thayil, group OEM head at Microsoft India noted that more and more consumers are buying products online. “We therefore see tremendous opportunity in delivering Microsoft products and services through our online store to these customers,” said Sharlin.
Though an online market is growing sharply in India, majority of buying (mainly for the gadgets) is still offline. This was one of the main reason why the online sales model pioneer Xiaomi, agreed to sell its devices in brick-and-mortar retail stores.
Nokia’s popularity aiding Microsoft
Since the $7 billion buyout of Nokia Devices last April, Microsoft has been steadily replacing Nokia’s name in the market by launching its own Lumia brand of smartphones. Though Nokia might have lost its big name in the west, in the emerging markets like India the brand still a gets a lot of respect. Therefore, the US firm has been targeting such markets with budget phones, such as the $70 Lumia 430.
With Snapdeal, Microsoft gets access to around 5,000 towns and cities across India. Snapdeal has emerged as a leading player in the e-commerce segment. Its growth, over the last couple of years, has been notable, as it was first set up as a daily deals site.
Last year, there were reports that eBay was leading a $134m funding round into Snapdeal, and months later there were news that the New Delhi-based company secured a further $100m, in equity financing. Also, a report from the Wall Street Journal claims that Alibaba and Foxconn are eager to invest around $500m in Snapdeal.
At around 11.36 am EDT, Microsoft shares were up 0.79% at $45.83, and year to date the stock is down almost 3%.