Microsoft India splits consumer & online ad businesses


7 Apr 2011
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NEW DELHI: To bring a sharper focus to its growing online business and align it with the firm's global strategy, Microsoft India has split the consumer and online advertising businesses . To boot, Hemant Sachdev, managing director for consumer and online business of Microsoft India has put in his papers. Neville Taraporewalla, who reported to Sachdev, has been appointed head of the online and advertising business and will report directly to Bhaskar Pramanik, chairman of Microsoft India. The software giant is now looking for a new head for its consumer business in India.

Says an analyst who wished not to be named: "Online requires a special focus and that's why the shift." The online advertising market in India has grown by 50% to $250 million in the last one year and is expected to be $1 billion by 2015. In an e-mailed statement, Microsoft India said: "Hemant Sachdev, managing director - consumer & online, Microsoft India has decided to pursue a career outside Microsoft. His last day will be 30th September 2011." Sachdev was leading the consumer and online business for Microsoft in India, which includes Windows 7, MSN, Bing Search, Windows Live and Windows Phone. Windows 7 garnered most revenues in the business, apart from MSN India and Windows Phone platform. He was also involved in the synergy across platforms - online, mobile and PC - for the consumer business.

Experts say that Microsoft's consumer business, mainly in Office and Windows, were interfering with a distinct online and mobile piece, and hence the need for restructuring into two divisions. The other piece, retail and entertainment & devices, in Microsoft India, is headed by Jaspreet Bindra. This division caters to retail of MS Office, Windows, Xbox 360 and keyboards. "It's been great, first with Bharti Airtel and then with Microsoft. Microsoft is a very process oriented firm, high on software engineering," Sachdev told ET. Sachdev will be with the company till September 30 and post that he plans to embark on a new 'adventure' in the telecom-web-technology space. He said, "I call it an adventure because after a point in time, a job doesn't mean just coming to office and putting in a fixed number of hours. It means creating something new for India, very relevant in this time and age."

This is the third major upheaval at the software giant's India operations. In the last one year the company has appointed a new chairman and a new managing director for the India operations. Earlier this year, Microsoft India Chairman Ravi Venkatesan put in his papers, which was filled by ex-Oracle India MD Bhaskar Pramanik.

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