Terming India as a potential market along with China, Microsoft on Monday said it expects growth in hardware sector to double this year.
While the company is not divulging figures, it says growth in the hardware sector has been 100 per cent on a year-on-year basis during the last two years.
"We are very bullish about India. We have commissioned the Indian Market Research Bureau to undertake a research about input devices and also about consumer shopping behaviour in India because we want to know more about the Indian market," Yolanda Chan, regional sales director for Asia and Greater China (home and entertainment division), Microsoft, told reporters in New Delhi.
The findings of the research are expected to be available in the next three months. Chan said the company was at present focussing on seven markets in Asia, which include China, India, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam along with countries such as New Zealand and Australia.
The company on Monday launched its 2005 range of hardware devices (mouse and keyboards) priced between Rs 195 to Rs 5,000. The devices include a wireless optical mouse, a desktop with a fingerprint reader, which dispenses with the need to remember multitude of passwords and a keyboard with a comfort curve design and zoom slider facility.
These devices would be sold through Microsoft's network of 4,000 resellers across 80 cities. The company is also planning to increase the number of its resellers to 10,000 by the year-end.
Asked about the time frame for launching its X-box or the digital gaming platform in India, Chan said, "we are keen to launch the product in India but we have to consider certain parametres such as the broadband penetration which is comparatively higher in countries such as Hong Kong (60 per cent), Singapore (55 per cent) and Taiwan (35 per cent) as also the warehousing facilities."
The X-box basically allows personal computer users to game online as against the present technology of gaming offline."We are the only player in the gaming market in India and we see a lot of potential for growth in this segment," Mohit Anand, manager-home and entertainment division of Microsoft India, said.