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Microsoft limbers up for mobile apps race

Microsoft Corporation (India) chairman Bhaskar Pramanik (left) with general manager and chief evangelist Joseph Landes in New Delhi on Thursday. Picture by Prem Singh

New Delhi, Dec. 19: Microsoft is trying to garner a substantial share of the $25-billion mobile applications market and overtake rivals Apple and Google.

“We have a great number of good mobile applications and are making consistent progress in the field. At present, we are at No. 3 position but hopefully in the near future we would be able to change that,” said Steve Guggenheimer, corporate vice-president and chief evangelist of Microsoft.

India, with its growing smartphone user base, plays a key role in Microsoft’s global plans.

Bhaskar Pramanik, chairman of Microsoft Corporation India, said, “With the proliferation of devices and cloud-based services, governments, businesses and other organisations are seeking to interact with customers, partners and other stakeholders securely and reliably. There is an opportunity to create commercial apps beyond the traditional ERP and other transactional systems.”

Microsoft hopes to offer better games, services and a variety of apps, including India-specific products that will help it popularise its Symbian-based mobile operating systems.

If the company succeeds, it will be able to hike the sale of Nokia’s smartphones, which run on the Windows Symbian platform.

The Indian arm of the global software giant today launched a contest for independent software vendors and start-ups that is expected to result in the creation of over 100 India-specific apps and solutions for businesses and governments within six months.

The contest, called Code for Honor, will run for over six months and is open to over 5,000 vendors and tech start-ups. Any Indian vendor or tech start-up, which is less than eight years old, is eligible to participate.

They can develop apps and solutions in four broad categories — enterprise apps and solutions (HR, finance, marketing and sales); micro, small and medium enterprise apps and solutions; government enablement; and citizen services.

Microsoft India chief evangelist and general manager Joseph Landes said there would be a two-step revenue sharing model — up to revenue of $25,000, the developer’s share will be 75 per cent, with the rest to Microsoft. Beyond $25,000, the developer’s share will be 80 per cent.

Over the last two years, developers and vendors in India have contributed significantly to Windows and Windows Phone sales. The rich developer ecosystem in India makes it the ideal place for developing commercial applications, Landes said.

“The reality of multi-device, multi-screen experiences is reshaping how developers think, build and monetise apps for consumption across the world,” Guggenheimer said.

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