Microsoft had, last month, announced close to ten new hardware partners, including Lava and Karbonn, that would roll out phones based on the company’s mobile software.

Software giant Microsoft is investing “millions’’ into the smartphone and tablet retail ecosystem here in India, into what it calls “core experiences below the line”.

This is being done as a means of reassuring its local OEM (original equipment manufacturer) partners of the company’s commitment towards the Windows Phone story.

The company is also in discussions with Micromax over the possibility of roping in the smartphone maker as a Windows Phone partner, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter. Nothing has been confirmed yet, however. “The company’s strategy is to expand its third-party OEM partners and then help them out when it comes to retailing. Its both about awareness and confidence building,” said a top executive at a multi-national PC firm.

Microsoft had, last month, announced close to ten new hardware partners that would roll out phones based on the company’s mobile software.

Lava and Karbonn were two players that were included as new Windows Phone partners.

“We are not making a formal statement here, just on faith… we will have something on that [Micromax] very soon,” said Chakrapani Gollapali, Country General Manager, Consumer Channels Group, in a recent interaction with this correspondent.

Shared responsibility

According to Mr. Golapalli, Microsoft is putting more money here in India into the go-to-market capability of Windows Phone.

“I take shared responsibility of not them [the OEMS] just getting a Windows licence, but taking shared responsibility in ensuring the customer has a ‘wow’ experience,” he said.

As a result, Microsoft has invested close to $10 million into the retail experience—something that is unusual for a software company—with some of the investment going into setting up Windows Zones in retail outlets such as Croma. “In the top 1,000 retail outlets… we have taken the responsibility to tell the Windows story. So, chances are, when you walk into a Croma store and when you see a Windows aisle, it isn’t an OEM-funded aisle. That’s funded by Microsoft,” Mr. Golapalli said.

“The top retailers, such as Vijay Sales and Croma, are absolutely respectful and grateful of what Microsoft is doing. This is an integral piece of investment… that assures OEMs that we are committed to their success,” he added.

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