2015 could be a momentous year for Microsoft. It might also be the year when they slipped up another opportunity to grow. An opportunity to expand in a market with tremendous growth and a loyal customer base. India’s love affair with Microsoft spans decades, but that doesn’t mean the Redmond company can keep ignoring it.
The original Surface Pro was greeted with mixed reviews and opinions which lead to a hasty release of its sequel, the Surface Pro 2. Although a marked improvement over its predecessor (mostly because of the decision to run Windows x86 architecture rather than Windows RT) it still wasn’t there yet. Sure enough, another Surface Pro was released shortly thereafter.
In all this time, not a single Surface Pro was launched in India. Windows 10 is here and now India awaits the newly launched Surface Book. There is no clarity whether we’ll eventually get it or not. But, we really should.
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A Laptop After Long Last
One point we must not forget. Microsoft has made billions only by making software. Primarily, the Windows OS itself, but also MS Office too. It has never wanted to compete with its OEM partners, who were happy to churn out laptops and other products year after year, running Windows OS. Till the Surface Pro.
What propelled Microsoft to the Surface project? Well, if comparisons are to be made, then this was Microsoft’s way of creating a Nexus line. A way to highlight their OS on hardware of their picking. Unlike Google, however, Microsoft didn’t even need the help of their OEM partners to make the Surface Pro series. They made those themselves.
The sales of the Surface Pro hasn’t been sensational or even close to amazing. But the Surface Book shows signs to break this mould. The only thing standing in its way? The price. The top-end model will retail for $2,799 (or Rs. 1,82,500 approximately).
If Apple Can, Why Can’t Microsoft?
We have to stop thinking that Indians don’t want to spend on high-end tech products. Companies like Apple have shown that there are plenty of products that are readily bought by Indian consumers. Heck, Tim Cook even tweeted about it.
Sure, Microsoft doesn’t have that aspirational value to its products, yet. But, by depriving a larger audience, are they really going to win any hearts?
Will They, Won’t They
You see, before the iPhone’s App Store came out, there was no market for app developers. We were quite happy to only use the apps that came preloaded with the phone and then use browsers to do other things. The App Store changed all that.
Windows, on the other hand, has always been an open source OS and other developers have had loads of software for their ecosystem already. Microsoft is in a tough spot to change that policy. It won’t change that, everyone knows this. But, it can (and should) expand the sales of their premium hardware to emerging markets.
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While we’ve read why the latest generation of iPhones are the most expensive here in India, it still hasn’t stopped people from buying them. Importing products is a hassle no one wants to undertake, especially when customs duties are so bizarre.
Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that. Let’s hope we get to see the Surface Book launched with much fanfare in as many markets as possible.
Last updated on 02 February, 2022
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