Partners cry foul over Microsoft online store

By : |May 10, 2010 0

NEW DELHI: Setting the business goals straight, the software major, 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.

"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."

When The DQ Week contacted 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 no role in alleviating them," added Singh.

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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