The world's largest software maker
) announced that it is teaming up with Chinese telecom giant
Huawei to release a low-cost Windows Phone 8 in Africa. Microsoft
expects the phone to strengthen its position in the smartphone
market in Africa.
The new Phone called the Huawei 4Afrika Windows Phone has a
4-inch screen, 480 x 800 display, dual-core 1.2 GHz Snapdragon
processor, front- and rear-facing cameras, and 4GB of internal
storage. It will come preloaded with select applications designed
by African developers for local consumers. The phone is priced at
$150 and will be initially available in Angola, Egypt, Ivory
Coast, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria and South Africa.
This new Windows Phone is in fact a part of the Microsoft
4Afrika Initiative. Microsoft's initiative is aimed at bringing
tens of millions of smart devices among the African youth,
upgrading the skills of 100,000 members of the current workforce
and helping 100,000 graduates to hone their employability skills
so it can place 75% of them (low-cost labor for Microsoft).
Africa is one of the world's fastest growing smartphone
markets. According to the GSM Association, smartphone sales in
Africa will grow 40% each year until 2017. Microsoft estimates
that smartphones in Africa represent only 10% of total phones
used across the continent as the majority of users still rely on
feature phones. So in view of the fact that the country is still
significantly under-penetrated in terms of smartphone usage, we
think that Microsoft has ample expansion opportunities in
Microsoft is not the only company eyeing Africa. Samsung, the
largest seller of smartphones and cell phones, intends to sell
its less expensive range of Galaxy smartphones in Africa and
other emerging markets.
The global smartphone market is dominated by
) Android and
) iOS devices. In 2012, the two operating systems together
represented about 88% of global smartphone market share, while
all others, including Windows Phone, were at about 12%. On the
brighter side, Microsoft's partnership with
) helped the company to increase its Lumia Windows smartphones
sales to 4.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2012, up from 2.9
million in the third quarter.
We believe that Microsoft's focus on one of the world's
fastest-growing smartphone markets will help the company to build
on the momentum it recently gained through its partnership with
Just like other companies with PC market exposure, Microsoft
is also seeing revenue pressure. The company is making all
efforts to fight the downturn caused by the sluggish economy.
Although Microsoft's smartphone market share is still relatively
small, the company is well positioned for growth in Africa, which
has the potential to generate an additional several billion
dollars a year in revenues.
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