Microsoft has plans to take on Blackberry in the Indian enterprise market by promoting the push email capability of its Windows Mobile 5.0 platform.
Microsoft has the “Exchange advantage”. There are around 2000 enterprises in India that currently host Microsoft Exchange servers.
Microsoft officials contend that while the Blackberrry server needs middleware to access enterprise servers (which adds to the cost of the solution), it has no such issue with the Exchange servers. However for non-Microsoft Exchange customers, Microsoft too will have to use third-party middleware solutions.
Advantages of Microsoft push-email over Blackberry:
All of Microsoft’s products have a mobility component to them. They also have a consistent look and feel. Customers want us to extend the Microsoft ease-of-use to other mobile devices too. And we can do it seamlessly and hence increase the productivity manifold,”
“Windows Mobile devices benefit from their ability to support things like Global Positioning System (GPS) and mapping technology and extended collaboration, while still integrating smoothly with existing Microsoft applications.
It plans to introduce this service in around 15 handset models, prices starting from around Rs 15,000.
Microsoft’s major Windows Mobile device-maker partners in India are iMate, HP, O2 and Eten.
I think Blackberry’s performance in India has not been anything to write home about. Even as the exclusive provider of Blackberry, Airtel has only managed to garner about 40,000 subscribers in 2 years. At the end of fiscal year 2006, RIM had five million BlackBerry subscribers worldwide.
Now that the exclusive period with Airtel is over, Reliance and Hutch too are expected to start offering BlackBerry powered push-email.
Hutch had announced a rival service called HutchMail last year, but am not sure if it was commercially launched.