Tech firm Microsoft has partnered with India's homegrown handset maker Micromax to offer Windows 8.1-powered operating system (OS) smartphones in the country, which is considered one of the leaders in emerging markets for smart devices.
The deal-announced at Microsoft's BUILD conference in San Francisco- is expected to intensify competition in the smartphone and tablets space.
Microsoft Executive VP (Operating Systems) Terry Myerson said: "We are thrilled to welcome 11 new Windows Phone partners since Mobile World Congress in February, with the addition of Micromax and Prestigio just announced today".
City-headquartered Micromax's revenues were Rs 3,168 crore for the financial year 2012-13 and it expects to clock revenues of $1 billion for the last fiscal ended March 2014.
Micromax, which is the second-largest smartphone player in India, held about 16 per cent market share in Q4 2013. Some its top selling models were the entry level smartphones like A35 Bolt and A67, IDC data showed.
Besides, the software giant has also announced that it will offer its Windows OS free to smartphone and tablet makers, a move that will help the firm compete with Google's Android and Apple's iOS in the fiercely competitive smart devices market.
This offering also enables hardware partners to provide their customers a one-year subscription to Office 365.
The move, though surprising, will led to a fiercer competition in the smartphone and tablets space, especially in the backdrop of its plans to acquire the handset business of Finnish phone maker Nokia for $7.2 billion.
Also, Microsoft's third CEO - After Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer -India-born Satya Nadella, since his appointment in February, has been indicating on the company focus on mobile and cloud.