Editorial: As a fan, this is what Microsoft is doing wrong!

The Microsoft we know is a many-headed hydra. They have a rapidly growing cloud infrastructure with Azure, they have their own PC manufacturing unit with Surface, they build their own PC software with Windows 10, they built their own mobile phones and an operating system for it with Lumia and Windows 10 Mobile respectively.

They also build the world’s most powerful gaming console with Xbox One (X). They build Office which is just a suite of a variety of applications that help you in getting your work done with your documents, spreadsheets, presentations and many more.

That’s all well and good if you are living in USA, but regular readers will know Microsoft is a very US-focussed company.

Well, I live in India. As everyone knows, India is an emerging market. So, here comes my first complaint.

Why is your software so expensive?

Various MNCs from all around the world are investing in India for many years now and I am sure they are nothing but making profits now.

At the same time, if we talk about software piracy, that is high here too. If we talk about the Home Edition of Windows 10, it costs around 8,000 INR which counts roughly to $125. This is definitely 25% more than the rate in the United States. And with pirated software being available so freely and easily on the Internet, people are biased towards buying this illegal software and installing it on their primary machines. A similar thing goes with Office. If you are buying Office 365 Personal as a subscription, it goes for 3,629 INR which comes around $65 and this subscription is for 12 months. If you buy Office 2016 as a one time purchase, it costs you whooping 21,299 INR or around $330. This is really expensive. People of India would rather pay 500 INR to get an activated copy of Windows and Office rather than paying this huge amount of money.

I know that there are high taxes in India, but the initial cost of your software is high enough already. You have been offering cheaper SKUs of Windows and Office which is not enough for a student. It might just benefit someone who needs to do their basic work. But really Microsoft, you need to do something about this.

Now, its time for Surface. Its one of Microsoft’s most popular divisions, but it’s not being well managed. So here’s my next complaint:

Microsoft, Please reconsider your marketing strategy!

How many Surface devices do you see people using? Well, not too many. I don’t know about other countries but I will just talk about India. There are no advertisements for Surface devices in India. Whenever I am about to talk to someone about a Surface, the constant question that I get is: “What is a Surface?” or “Sur-face?” and many similar ones. People don’t know anything about Surface devices.

Microsoft needs to work on its marketing strategy. There are no advertisements or commercials about Surface products. Whereas, when we see Apple (a similarly priced premium product), they are being heavily been advertising on FM Radios, Hoardings, Televisions and everywhere else possible. While Microsoft is seen doing nothing about it. Why is it Microsoft? Also, recently Microsoft announced that the Surface Book 2 in the United States and brought it to market in Mid-November 2017 and now after roughly 2 months they are announcing that the Surface Book 2 will be coming to India starting from February or March of 2018. Why are they so late? By the time it launches here other competitors would have already taken away all the market share. If they believe in their products so much, why don’t they release it as per the demands of the market at attractive cashback or EMI offers?

Thirdly, I would like to talk about Windows phone strategy. Actually, this is not just about the phone strategy, this is about killing products loved by fans. My third complaint is this:

Why are you always killing loved products?

They killed Windows phone, Microsoft Band, Zune, Groove Music, Kinect and many more. Microsoft is now sort of known for killing its products. Looking at it from a business point of view, it is necessary for products that are not giving you profits when compared to other services or products. But there is something about your user base that you need to keep in mind. When you killed Microsoft Band, people were actually enjoying using it. Even though it was having a small market share, people wanted to use it. Now, these people migrated to FitBit or other fitness bands and if they love that too, what are the odds of them switching back to your new product if you plan to release one? The same is for Windows phone. Kinect was a great product. Yeah, it was old but Microsoft could still use it in order to make newer innovations with the technology but nevertheless, I am fine with it. This is so because I think that Microsoft will bring it back and this time, it will be huge.

Microsoft, seriously you should give a thought to making your user base a part of your strategy. Concentrating on developers and businesses is great but what will the products do? Eat dust on the shelves of the stores when there is no user to buy it? You need to rethink about this, please and stop taking fans for granted. Increasingly they are no longer there for you because you have not been there for them.

Alright, I’m done with my complaints. Please note that I am a Microsoft fan too but these kinds of steps taken by them scare me a little because I fear: “What if this product doesn’t work out in the market?”, making me increasingly reluctant to support Microsoft’s new innovations.

I know that Microsoft is working on a foldable device with Andromeda Shell and powered by the Windows Core OS but what if that doesn’t work out either? Will Microsoft give up on that?

Let’s make it a healthy discussion and let us know your views in the comments section below!

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