Microsoft to step up telco software sales

Microsoft to step up telco software sales
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First Published: Fri, May 23 2008. 12 00 AM IST
Updated: Fri, May 23 2008. 12 00 AM IST
New Delhi: The world’s biggest software maker Microsoft Corp. aims to sell to India’s mobile phone service firms its software for conferencing and business automation through a pay-as-per-use model. The company also plans to sell more licences of its IPTV (Internet protocol television) solution in the country.
“More Indian telcos want to host our software applications and offer them to small and medium enterprises,” said Martha Bejar, corporate vice-president, communications sector, Microsoft in a recent interview.
The communications sector contributed almost $2 billion (around Rs8,620 crore) to Microsoft’s global revenues last year.
Research firm Frost and Sullivan says the market in India for software delivered as a service hosted on the Web would be worth around $267 million by 2011, growing at 71% annually. “Web conferencing and collaboration form over 43% of this market,” said Girish Trivedi, director of the firm’s telecom practice for South Asia and West Asia.
Tata Communications Ltd, earlier known as Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd, already serves customers such as Teamlease Services Ltd, Tata Elxsi Ltd and Techprocess Solutions Ltd through the software-as-a-service model, which helps such enterprises save costs of buying new software licences. India’s biggest mobile phone services firm Bharti Airtel Ltd also announced an alliance with Microsoft last year to offer similar services.
With its solutions, Microsoft will enable telecommunications companies address the market segments of television viewers, mobile phone users, email subscribers, and small enterprises.
Microsoft is also hawking its IPTV solution. It signed an IPTV contract with Reliance Communications Ltd in November last year, and expects up to $500 million in sales, based on a revenue-sharing formula.
For Microsoft, Indian IPTV services market, which is expected to be worth $171 million in the next five years from some $700,000 currently, offers a lucrative opportunity. Indian telecom companies are getting into IPTV to raise average per-user billings as revenues from voice offerings on fixed-line phone networks fall. “While Microsoft wants to replicate its personal computer dominance in other emerging areas, telcos are seeking different revenue streams beyond pure voice,” said Trivedi.
Microsoft is currently talking with several telecom companies for bundling of a low-cost device that will allow usersto access the Internet and enjoy other applications delivered through broadband, without having to invest separatelyin software and a high-end desktop. “I cannot give more details, but some operators are currently talking to us,” said Bejar.
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First Published: Fri, May 23 2008. 12 00 AM IST