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Partners cry foul over Microsoft online store

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DQW Bureau
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Setting the business goals straight,

the software major, href="https://www.dqweek.com/canon-expands-relationship-with-microsoft">Microsoft

has outsourced its online shopping

platform to Delhi-based Quasar Media, but the channel fraternity

laments over the transparency. Microsoft has tied up with Quasar for

its online store initiative that allows dealers and resellers to put

their products on its Web portal. The range includes office products,

PC games, Windows mobile phones, accessories and software. However,

the channel partners feel that this move by Microsoft is aimed to

benefit the preferred ones. Speaking to The DQ Week, Vineet

Durani, Director-Central Marketing Group, Microsoft India said that

the company's online store is a one-stop-shop for consumers looking

to buy genuine original Microsoft products at the best offers and

most reasonable price points.

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"Since its launch, which happened

early this year, we have had over five lakh unique visitors and on an

average, we get approximately 1.25 lakh unique visitors every month,"

Durani said. The Microsoft online store is an e-commerce marketplace

that allows reach to prospective online customers. "There are

various partners for the Microsoft India online store, such as

Redington, Aditi Computers, Vipra, Technofirm, Lets Buy, Prentice

Hall India (PHI), Bhawar Lifestyle and Unique Infoways," added

Durani.

Amit Sharma, CEO of KK Infosoft, Ajmer

felt that the process is not fair. "I do not know, if Microsoft

has set up any benchmark to allow channel partners to conduct

business on its platform or if it is just a partisan attitude to

reward the favorite partners. The company should disclose the norms

for its online store initiative to all partners," said Sharma.

Durani commented, “They have licensed

their brand and its assets to Quasar Media, which owns and manages

Microsoft India online store. The pricing and commissions are set by

partners in conjunction with Quasar.” According to him, the

decision to take on additional partners rests with Quasar and any

organization is free to approach them to explore business

opportunities for partnership. Alok Gupta of Delhi-based Softmart

said, "Microsoft is bypassing the channel. Though, the end-users

are getting benefits, but it is not fair market practice. We should

be given equal opportunities too."

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When

The DQ Week contacted style="background: transparent none repeat scroll 0% 0%; -moz-background-clip: border; -moz-background-origin: padding; -moz-background-inline-policy: continuous;">Chetna

Singh

of Quasar Media, who heads the Microsoft-Quasar alliance, she

informed that they have developed Microsoft online store and would

also offer operational and maintenance services. She however

said that there is a process and a partner needs to enter into an

standard agreement with Microsoft, and has to pay an upfront fee of

Rs 50,000 for products listing." All the current partners on

Microsoft India online store are being recommended by Microsoft, and

we had style="background: transparent none repeat scroll 0% 0%; -moz-background-clip: border; -moz-background-origin: padding; -moz-background-inline-policy: continuous;">no

role in alleviating

them," added Singh.

style="background: transparent none repeat scroll 0% 0%; -moz-background-clip: border; -moz-background-origin: padding; -moz-background-inline-policy: continuous;">Kolkata-based

Hemant

Chabria of Chabria Infotech, who is on board Microsoft's

online initiative said that, they have not paid any requisite amount

to Microsoft India. "We are not receiving volume business as the

new concept is yet to pick up. Online consumers are often reluctant

to put heir credit card numbers on a website," added Chabria.

Hyderabad-based G Mahender said that, though it may be Microsoft

India's policy, but however they are not aware of its online

initiative. Mumbai-based software reseller, Devesh Gupta of

Compusoft, who avails Microsoft India's online business initiative

said, "It is a marketplace to sell stock, and we have not paid

any amount to them.” However, Gupta said that their association

with Microsoft India online store did not make any difference in

business and the channel partners could come together for price

uniformity and fair trade practices.



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