Almost a year after Microsoft Corp acquired mobile phone maker Nokia for $7.5 billion, the Redmond-headquartered software maker is in the last stages of making the transition in India, among the fastest-growing smartphone markets in the world.
In Microsoft's global scheme of things, India is among the most important markets and Nokia retail stores are being rebranded Microsoft Priority Resellers in the country before other markets.
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"From a retail branding perspective, India is one of the leading markets, so there is a full plan to bring Nokia over toMicrosoft," stated Ajey Mehta, managing director of Microsoft Mobile in India.
Nokia metamorphosed into Microsoft globally on April 29, 2014, while the brand change on smartphones to MicrosoftLumia happened in September. In India, where the handset maker has struggled to retain market share, the firstMicrosoft Lumia smartphone came two months later.
On the brand side, instead of a backlash or loss of brand identity, Microsoft brand of smartphones met with a positive response from consumers.
"We were quite surprised but we didn't (get a sense from customers of the Nokia brand of devices not being available on retail shelves). People were curious, and to our pleasant positive surprise it worked out well," Mehta said as he shared the India experience when the first Microsoft smartphone was launched in the country.
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Industry insiders add that Microsoft sold more than 1 million Lumia 535 smartphones within a month of launch.
Since then, Microsoft-Nokia has launched more than nine smartphone models, targeting the under Rs 12,000 price band, which accounts for a large chunk of India's smartphones sales.