Microsoft Sees Asian Emerging Markets as a Way to Get Ahead of Rivals (Seattle Times)

The Seattle Times recently had an extensive article (Microsoft finds fertile ground for growth in Asia) explaining how Microsoft is looking to make up for lost ground by increasing its focus on emerging markets in Asia where most people are just entering the smartphone era.

Cesar Cernuda, the president of the Microsoft’s Asia-Pacific business which sells software, services and devices in 39 countries and territories with 1 billion people, noted that while China and India may get the most attention because they are so large, Indonesia is expected to become the fourth-largest economy in the world by 2050. Microsoft’s share of Indonesia’s smartphone market is expected to triple this year, overtaking Apple, but its market share will still remain far behind that of Android which powers most of the smartphones and tablets in Asia.

In addition to Indonesia, Microsoft has a 20% market share for the Windows Phone in Vietnam and a more than 15% share for the Windows Phone in Thailand.

Cernuda also said Asia Pacific is expected to spend $8.6 billion next year on cloud services, though the uptake of cloud services by companies isn’t as widespread as in the US. Tablets too have been selling well in the Asia-Pacific region but the category’s growth has slowed as people move toward “phablets” — jumbo phones with 5- to 7-inch screens with white-label Android phablets selling for $100 to $200.

Hence, Microsoft has announced partnerships with a handful of Chinese device-makers in February and then announced in April that it would waive the cost of its operating system on devices with screens smaller than 9 inches because they will likely have better luck selling a low-cost Windows tablet in Asia than a smaller version of the premium-priced Surface tablet.

Cernuda also commented that Microsoft’s new online version of Office is “a real breakthrough” because it will help the company reach more small businesses in Asia Pacific where piracy of disc-based versions of Office has been widespread.

To read the whole article, Microsoft finds fertile ground for growth in Asia, go to the website of Seattle Times.

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