Microsoft focuses on SA

2013-04-18 15:00
Microsoft (Picture: AP)

Microsoft (Picture: AP)

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Durban – Microsoft sees Africa in general and South Africa in particular, as a key market for adoption of the company’s software.

“We actually think it’s important to bring tier one, globally powerful computing experience to the African continent,” Fred Baumhardt, chief technology officer for Microsoft told News24.

Microsoft said that it was demonstrable that the South African market was important to the company in that SA was included in the first group of countries to be included in the launch of Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8.

“With the Windows 8 launch, South Africa was one of 22 countries to get the Windows launch,” said Colin Erasmus, Windows lead for Microsoft.

Baumhardt said that the company has moved to close gaps in product availability over the last few years so that consumers in SA have access to similar Microsoft products than those in more developed countries.


“Over the last four or five years, we’ve gone through a very strong priority to increase South Africa on the map of Microsoft. By revenue, we’re in the top 20 or so countries in the world for Microsoft,” said Baumhardt.

The push into SA is illustrated in the release of the Xbox and the related ecosystem, Windows Phones built by Nokia, Samsung and HTC, in addition to Office 365.

The company has been on a drive to change its image as a conservative corporate establishment to one that resonates more strongly with an urban consumer culture.

“Microsoft made a major change about a year ago where we wanted to start addressing that very point [cool].

“We established a new group internally at Microsoft called the CCG, the Channel Consumer Group, and that was meant to do exactly that – was meant to get back into those markets; to make sure we understood the channels and distribution within those markets, and also to invest in those markets,” said Anthony Doherty, Windows Phone product manager.

He said that the focus of the CCG was to manage Microsoft technology assets so that they are leveraged to appeal to consumers.

“The focus of the Consumer Channels Group is to drive a consistent sales and marketing execution in all markets so that we become more appealing to the consumer and we target the consumer in the right way,” said Doherty.

There are three divisions in the CCG: Operator channels, OEM business, and the retail business that manage the portfolio with a lesser corporate tone, Microsoft said.


“Under the Consumer Channels Group, we bring a lot of the consumer product portfolio and message it to the consumer not in an enterprise way, which is our historical legacy,” Doherty added.

Baumhardt said that Microsoft is determined to take its new image into the corporate world, particularly as the lines between work and play devices becomes more indistinct.

“But Microsoft’s priority, let me be very clear, is to do both. That is also not just to stay cool as a consumer thing, but our agreement is to take elements of cool into the enterprise as well.”

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Read more on:    microsoft  |  mobile  |  computing

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