Microsoft SA MD bullish on Nokia partnership

Microsoft South Africa MD, Mteto Nyati believes his company’s recent partnership with Nokia will enable the software giant become a true player in the global mobile phone space. Nyati emphasized that during an interview with ITNewsAfrica.

Mteto Nyati, Microsoft SA MD (image source: Microsoft)

“Microsoft would like to enhance its mobile phone business,” said Nyati.

“We looked at our phone business, we found that Nokia, although it’s currently losing market share, remains a dominant player in the phone business.

Therefore partnering with them, by having developed a new operating system, is something that will help both companies. Nokia required an updated operating system. Microsoft needs Nokia in terms of reach,” said Nyati.

“The partnership between the two organisations helped us to survive and thrive. That is what we are after.”

Is Microsoft planning to be a player in the mobile communications space?

Microsoft would like to light up all the devices, desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones. The intelligence behind each one of those devices needs to be a Microsoft intelligence software.

Nokia remains a popular mobile brand in Africa. Is Microsoft planning to capitalize on that?

“It remains a popular phone brand globally. It is even more in Africa. That is what we are after. That’s why we are excited about this partnership with Nokia.”

Not only software

Nyati said Microsoft is not only a consumer or a business software company.

“Microsoft strength is being focused on software, however there’s a need to provide not just software but the service as well ,”said Nyati.

Microsoft established in South Africa in 1989 with about 4 employees, today the company has about 450 employees and 6 500 partners. Microsoft has a strong presence across Africa including Senegal, Nigeria and Kenya. Mteto is responsible for Microsoft SA, Swaziland and Lesotho. Microsoft SA, last year ended June 2011, the business grew by 22%.

“Almost all the lines of business are growing double digits,” said Nyati.

Microsoft provides an entire spectrum of business products including entertainment devices like Xbox, mobile phones, online advertising, ERP and CRM.

Avanade Partnership

Avanade South Africa officially launched in the country on 14 October 2011. Avanade South Africa, one of the largest dedicated Microsoft technology partners. The company was formed as a joint venture between Micosoft, which owns 20% and Accenture, which owns 80% of the business.

Commenting on the Avanade partnership, Nyati said “The biggest challenge is that we do not have IT service companies that have credibility and intellectual property that can make customers comfortable that their projects will be delivered on time, within budget, without causing disruptions and within a Microsoft operating environment. That is what Avanade is able to provide.”

Cloud Computing

“Microsoft views cloud computing as one of the biggest changes that are happening within our time. We see it as an important change. This is going to help computing to be much more accessible to people. The cost of delivering cloud computing is much less,” said Nyati.

“We have embraced cloud computing as a company and adopted it as a key strategy going forward. We have accelerated the deployment and announcement of products across the African continent, including Office 365, which is coming to SA early next year and Ajwa,” said Mteto.

Have any of Microsoft patent Laws been bridged recently?

We have been signing up agreements with may of the Android device providers. We have been signing those licensing agreements to make sure that we protect our intellectual property as a company. Already almost half of the Android devices that are being shipped are under the Microsoft licensing agreement. It is important to protect intellectual property not only for Microsoft but for any other company.

Why did Microsoft acquire Skype?

“We have a world that is full of devices. In this world, it will be important how people connect with others. Skype is a technology that is able to help to switch on all communication technology platforms at an affordable rate. That is the key.”

Virtual Academy

“Our observation in the world is that there is a huge problems in terms of access to training requirements and training material. Microsoft has tried to make it easy for people to acquire knowledge through providing an e-Learning environment so people can access it via the Internet, and train themselves at their own pace and acquire the appropriate certification,”said Nyati.

What do you think will be the leading technology trend for 2012?

We are just at the beginning of cloud computing, therefore there will be more development in that space. We will see a future that is filled with many devices. I think you will also see people embracing unified communications,” concludes Nyati.

Bontle MoengITNewsAfrica Online Editor