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Microsoft’s Global and Regional Vision

Published: November 11, 2013 | 9:23 am
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The COMMERCIAL TIMES

EXCLUSIVE

Corporate Communications Director: “Corporate Communications Director: “We’re betting on partnership with Nokia”

One of the biggest latest news about Microsoft is that it has asked EU antitrust regulators to approve its $7.49 billion takeover of Nokia’s phone business as part of a push into the mobile devices business. The deal includes a 10-year licensing agreement of Nokia’s patent portfolio.

The European Commission said it would decide by December 4 whether to clear the acquisition. The COMMERCIAL TIMES interviewed Tomas Jensen, Director Corporate Communications of Microsoft in Middle East and Africa regarding the world’s software giant’s further global and regional vision.

– Microsoft’s representative office in Georgia was opened in 2010. Why is it important for Microsoft to represent itself here?

– Microsoft is present in Georgia as Microsoft is present in other markets. Georgia is a very dynamic country, there a lots of growth here.

– What is the global and regional approach of Microsoft like?

– Microsoft is in the middle of transforming from a software oriented company to a devices and services company. We’ll be continuing offering software but we’ll be adding more and more services and devices like phones, tablets that have Microsoft branding.

So, that’s the global positioning and it’s same all over the planet.

 

If you look into individual markets, let’s say the United States of America, Japan or Georgia, every market is somewhat different and every market has a different dynamism, potential and audiences. This is where you have to tell a local story. If you look at my part of the world, which is Middle East and Africa, in Turkey, for example, we use local spokespeople and local customers and there we have country-specific programs to deliver our messages, to support the audiences that we find worth being supported. If you look at Corporate Social Responsibility programs, they’re always specifically tailored for these individual markets. So, you cannot say that we have one approach for those markets and then very different ones for other markets. We actually always take very comparable approach; we have global positioning and then adapt that to markets and make sure that that positioning and the messages that come with it globally always are communicated in every single market.

– The priority of the Microsoft Georgia is to replace illegally licensed software, which should be a step forward for the development of the information technology market in the country. How do you struggle against illegal usage of software in Georgia or in your region-Turkey?

– It’s not a Georgian or Turkey specific problem, it’s a problem that exists in any market. Number one is to raise awareness, make people aware of the fact what damage they can do to themselves by using illegal software you never know where it comes from, what comes with it and whether it is really what it says it is. We also talk about a larger picture, how much damage it does to you economies because taxes not being paid and you’re breaking the law. What’s also important, if you buy illegal software, you’re not supporting innovation because you pay money to somebody who’s not interested in fostering innovation, reinvesting money and doing something for the community. You could probably look at it at three layers when we talk to people about using illegal software, the first one again being you don’t know what you’re getting, it might be harmful, second you’re not getting the support you would get, third– you do a harm to your environment, economy, eco-system, innovation.

– Is raising awareness enough to deal with the above-mentioned problem?

As for other measures, besides raising awareness, there are technical boundaries as well. It is not that easy anymore to use illegal software because you have register it and etc. But in order to really change the way people think about it and the way people actually understand why they should not be using it, it’s way better to convince why it’s right thing to use legal software rather than forcing them into something. I find it way more relevant to convince people why they should be using legal software. When I say people, I really mean people in the consumer sphere, but also talk about people in organizations decision- makers at large companies or small and medium size enterprises.

– What’s your comment on Microsoft buying Nokia’s smartphone business?

– It’s a pending thing going on because regulatory entities in the United States have to agree that the deal can actually be done. Keep in mind though that Microsoft is switching from a software company to a devices and services company, as I said before, and that is clearly a part of this strategy. That’s all I can say at this point.

 

– What we see lately is Samsung and Apple to end Nokia’s smartphone reign. What’s your view of the issue?

– When Nokia took the strategic decision a few years back to bet on the

Microsoft platform, it saw a heavily increased sales. We’re far from saying that we’re one of the three big players as there are two big ones and there’s Microsoft not being number three, but if you look at the growth rates over the two-three years, they’re very promising. We’re betting on partnership with Nokia, which has been very good and very strong. It’s not going to be very easy, but we’re committed to grow and be one of the big three.

 

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