Microsoft ready for major consumer war

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Manufacturer wants to emulate UK B2B success in the consumer market as it continues to strengthen its smartphone range

Microsoft Devices UK interim boss Simon Rayne has stressed the importance of making progress in the consumer sector after a year of “progress” in B2B.

Globally, Microsoft sold 10.5 million units in the final quarter of last year, up from 9.3 million a year ago. The manufacturer used Mobile World Congress to launch its latest ‘affordable’ Lumia devices, the 640, and updating media on the progress of Windows 10, which will roll out across desktop and mobile in the final quarter of this year.

B2B appeal is rising
Rayne (pictured) pointed to Microsoft’s growth in the UK B2B sector over the past year which saw its share rise from 21 to 26 per cent in the final three months of 2014 (figures from Canalys).

This closed the gap significantly on market leader Apple which saw its share fall from 35 to 29 per cent over the same period.

“It’s been a strong year and it’s been really pleasing,” he told Mobile News. “We’ve made a lot of progress on the consumer side which is the big battle and B2B has been really strong.”

However, Microsoft Devices consumer market share fell from 9.6 per cent to 6.5 per cent during 2014 according to Kantar. During last year’s event, Nokia lauded the success of sales for the low end Lumia 520, handset for its rise in share – outselling the iPhone in around 10 of its key markets.

Rayne pointed to GfK figures which he said were the manufacturer’s strongest performance ever and said the consumer arena was Microsoft’s focus.

Consumer battleground
“Consumer (market) is obviously important because let’s face it, that is the battleground, that’s where everyone wants to be successful,” he said.

“The consumer sector is still the vast majority of the business in the UK.

“Probably about four million units in the B2B sector and 26 million plus shifted in the whole of the market.

“That’s the key battleground and that’s where we want to be successful as well as in
business.”

Rayne admitted the affordable sector had accounted for the majority of sales but says the launch of Windows 10 in Q4 will see a new high end flagship device later this year.

“We’ve made most of our progress in the low-to-mid end,” he said.

“We do have some momentum on the high-end in B2B but we’d of course like more and with Windows 10 that will happen.”

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