Sunday, 30 November 2014

70% of e-commerce sales to soon come via smartphones

Shopping online through smartphones is expected to be a game changer shortly and industry experts believe that m-commerce would contribute up to 70% of their total revenues.

"In India, the mobile internet traffic now outweighs personal computer traffic. With increasing penetration of smartphones, India is all set to be a massive market for m-commerce. The marketing strategies for e-commerce companies will increasingly be tailored to suit the rising adoption of smartphones, social media and improving customer experience across touch points and platforms," Amazon India vice president and country manager Amit Agarwal said.

He said that more than 40% of their traffic comes from mobile devices.

Mobile internet users in India are estimated to be 120 million compared to 100 million users logging online on their personal computers.

"Close to 60% of our orders are coming over mobile now. It is growing really fast. We get more traffic on the mobile than we get on personal computers. Within the next 12 months over 75% of our orders will be on mobile," Snapdeal co-founder Kunal Bahl said.

Fashion portal retailer expects close to 70% of revenue coming through mobiles this fiscal.

" has witnessed phenomenal activity on the m-commerce front, with smartphones gaining prominence as the preferred mode to access and shop for fashion brands in the country.

"Currently, close to 50% of our business is driven by m-commerce and with the launch of our Mobile App across all platforms (Android, iOS and Windows), we expect this figure to grow to 70% by end of this fiscal," Myntra chief product and technology officer Shamik Sharma said.

M-commerce is estimated to be 30% of the $3 billion e-tailing industry and is likely to grow to nearly 40% of the industry that is expected to be $32 billion by 2020, according to Technopak senior vice president, retail and consumer products, Ankur Bisen.

Flipkart senior director of marketing, Mausam Bhatt said e-commerce industry is gradually progressing to be a m-commerce industry.

"I think the way e-commerce industry is evolving it is becoming more of a mobile-commerce industry. If you look at Flipkart a year ago, less than 10% of our orders, transactions and visits used to come from mobile commerce. Now those numbers are greater than 50% for us. It is accelerating at a very rapid pace. We are seeing more than 2 times or 3 times growth from the mobile front compared to desktop, where Flipkart is growing overall but mobile is growing at a much faster pace," he said.

Friday, 28 November 2014

Xolo launches Opus 3 ‘selfie’ phone at Rs 8,499

Xolo has launched a new budget smartphone, Opus 3, at Rs 8,499.

The phone sports a 5-inch (720X1080p) IPS HD display.

It is powered by a 1.3GHz quad-core processor and 1GB RAM. It comes with 8GB internal storage and supports microSD card slots of up to 32GB for expansion. The phone has a 2500mAh battery.

It runs Android 4.4 KitKat. The phone features motion control technology which makes the use of accelerometer and proximity sensor to control Music player, FM radio, Gallery, Camera and calls. It also allows access to multiple apps via Float Task on a dual window operation mode, for multitasking.

Xolo Opus 3 sports an 8MP Sony Exmor R rear camera with auto-focus, support for full-HD recording and dual-LED flash, and a 5MP front-facing camera with a 88-degree wide-angle lens, flash and BSI Sensor.

In terms of connectivity, the dual-sim phone offers 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 and GPS.

Online fashion commerce boosts Bestseller's 2013-14 revenue

Danish fashion niche retailer Bestseller, whose brands like Vero Moda compete with market leaders H&M and Zara, said its pre-tax profit rose 21% in 2013-2014 as it pared down on stores and boosted its internet business.

Revenues rose 5% to 20.1 billion Danish crowns ($3.4 billion) in the 2013-14 financial year while pretax profit grew to 1.7 billion crowns, the unlisted firm said late on Thursday.

Earlier this month the company said its Bestseller Retail Europe division, which runs physical stores and accounts for about 10% of its total revenue, would close every 20th store after profits for that division fell by 50%.

"Through an increased focus on our operations and through an even closer collaboration with our partners and customers, we have managed to grow and create better results in a challenging market," chief executive Anders Holch Povlsen said.

Povlsen, son of the founder of Bestseller and Denmark's second richest man, said the synergies between physical stores and e-commerce has become more critical than ever.

"Our goal is that the digital options available become a larger part of Bestseller's DNA and that the link between the physical stores and our online activities becomes even more natural," Povlsen said in the annual report.

Bestseller has more than 3,000 stores across 38 markets worldwide and an online presence in 70 markets, with mid-market brands such as Vero Moda, Pieces, Mamalicious and high mid-market brands such as Selected Femme and Selected Homme.

Despite a solid revenue growth of 5%, the company was behind H&M and Zara, which posted growth of 9% and 8% respectively at their last annual reports.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

At $40 billion, Uber bigger than Twitter and Hertz

Uber Technologies investors are betting the five-year-old car-booking app is more valuable than Twitter and Hertz Global Holdings.

The startup is close to raising a round of financing that would value it between $35 billion and $40 billion, according to people familiar with the situation, who asked not to be identified because the details are private. T Rowe Price Group is in discussions to be a new investor and existing investor Fidelity Investments is also set to participate in the funding, the people said.

"At this valuation, investors appear to be thinking that when Uber goes public, it might be worth $80 billion to $100 billion," said Anand Sanwal, chief executive officer of CB Insights, a research firm in New York. "This type of mega-financing affords Uber a great deal of flexibility in terms of when they might go public."

If Uber completes the funding, the valuation of as much as $40 billion would more than double its $17 billion value from a June financing round. That would also put Uber at about 1.5 times the capitalization of microblogging service Twitter and at the same size as, Delta Airlines and Kraft Foods Group. It would dwarf car-rental company Hertz, which has a market capitalization of $11 billion.

The funding talks show that investors' appetite for growth wasn't affected by the fallout from remarks made last week by senior vice president Emil Michael about prying into journalists' private lives.

"Uber has done a lot of ill-considered things, but I still wish I were its investor," said David Cowan, a partner at Bessemer Venture Partners.

Record Valuation

Uber is seeking to raise at least $1 billion, the people said. The financing hasn't closed and the terms and investor group may still change, one of the people said. T Rowe previously considered investing in Uber and may still end up passing this time, two of the people said. Representatives for Uber, T Rowe and Fidelity declined to comment yesterday.

Already in June, Uber's valuation was a record for a US technology startup in a direct investment round. That put it at the front of a pack of elite US technology startups that are valued in the eleven-digit range, including Airbnb and Dropbox.

Such valuations are spreading internationally. In China, smartphone maker Xiaomi is in talks for a funding round that would value it at $40 billion to $50 billion, people familiar with the matter have said.

Uber is raising more money to finance its international expansion, people close to the situation said earlier this month. The company, founded in 2009 by Garrett Camp and chief executive officer Travis Kalanick, has rolled out its car-booking services to more than 220 cities worldwide.

Uber has run into controversies during its fast expansion, including roiling established taxi and limousine industries and facing regulatory hurdles. Some drivers for the service have also complained about the company's commission structure.

Last week, Uber introduced a rewards program for drivers and hired law firm Hogan Lovells to conduct an internal review on its data-privacy.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Samsung retains top position in Indian smartphone market: IDC

Korean giant Samsung continued to be the smartphone market leader in India with 24%, followed by Micromax (20%) and Lava (8%), research firm IDC in a statement said.

The research firm said that Samsung has witnessed shipment growth in Q3 2014 but it has been lower than than the industry average.

"There is a contraction in their (Samsung) market share", IDC added.

The finding puts Karbonn (also 8% market share) together with Lava at third slot and said that more than 85% of Karbonn's shipment volume is supported by handsets priced less than $100.

"Lava's feature phone business shaped up well in Q3 2014. It was able to clinch the fourth spot in the overall mobile phone business surpassing Karbonn," it added.

The research firm ranks Motorola at fifth position with 5% of the smartphone market pie.

Vendors shipped 23.3 million smartphones during Q3 2014, IDC, in its quarterly mobile phone tracker report said and added that India is the fastest growing market in the Asia Pacific region

With 23.3 million shipments in the quarter, smartphones demonstrated 27% quarter-on-quarter growth and a robust 82% year-on-year growth.

"Smartphone with screen size between 4.5-inch and 5.5-inch are seen as the sweet spot for consumer preference. Consumer need higher screen size phone to enjoy media content and with the 4G rollout expected in CY2015, we expect Phablets segment to pick up again" Kiran Kumar, research manager, Client Devices IDC India said.

Samsung also led the overall market but it's gap with second place Micromax narrowed in the quarter, IDC said.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Snapdeal logs onto rural India

Online retail is poised for a hyper jump into rural India. To go one up on archrival Flipkart, Snapdeal — one of the country's largest e-tailers — plans to tap 50 lakh low-income households in slums and villages across the country. These include places such as Dharavi (Mumbai), which is Asia's largest slum, Govindpuri, one of the biggest slums in Delhi, and villages in Gujarat, Rajasthan and Haryana, among many others.

Snapdeal will launch around 5,000 e-commerce kiosks across 65 cities and 70,000 rural areas by the end of next year with the help of FINO PayTech, an Indian financial inclusion solutions company. These e-commerce centers will be manned by village-level entrepreneurs, have personal computers and tablets, and also serve as collection and delivery points of packages since most people living in these areas usually have no permanent addresses. Additionally, they will help consumers with zero internet connectivity to shop online.

"I am going into this thinking that we will be able to reach 5-10 crore new consumers in the next three years," Kunal Bahl, co-founder and CEO of Snapdeal, told TOI. At present, Snapdeal has around 3 crore registered users.

Interestingly, initial pilot runs by these kiosks have revealed that the average ticket size of purchases by rural consumers is not too far behind that of urban consumers. "It is Rs 1,400 compared to Rs 2,000 from urban areas," said Bahl.

Snapdeal will be offering a special assortment of utility-cum-aspirational products, such as speakers, juicers, solar lanterns, diner sets, cameras and mobile phones. These products will be curated on an exclusive page that will require login by a FINO agent, who would place an order, collect payment, receive and deliver to people who have no permanent address.

"This channel has great potential. For instance, we call people from Dharavi the HNIs (high net worth individual) of slums," said Rishi Gupta, executive director and COO of FINO PayTech.

Tatas plans e-marketplace foray

Tata Group has started putting together a team for its proposed big-bang foray into e-commerce marketplace under Ashutosh Pandey, former COO of the Group's bookstore chain Landmark.

The Group has also roped in Sarvesh Dwivedi, who has been heading the lifestyle division of eBay India, three people familiar with Tatas' plans told ET.

Gurvinderjit Singh Samra, who has worked with Tata Group's different arms, including its life-science and healthcare unit, Titan and Indian Hotels, has joined the e-commerce team, two of them said. "Obviously there is a small team as things are currently being sketched," one of them said.

Latif Nathani, managing director of eBay India, confirmed the departure of Dwivedi from the company, but said he is not sure where Dwivedi is headed. Prior to eBay, Dwivedi worked with and Reliance Retail among other firms.

ET had in September reported that the Tatas are preparing for an entry into India's lucrative e-commerce business with a marketplace model similar to Flipkart, Amazon and Snapdeal. A spokesperson for Tata Sons said that the Group has "interest" in e-commerce, but refused to share details for the proposed venture. "As we had told you on September 22, e-commerce is of interest to the Tata Group, and we will share more information at the appropriate moment," the person said in an emailed reply to ET.

Tatas currently run e-commerce portals for its Croma consumer electronics chain and Landmark bookstores. Its proposed new e-commerce marketplace, which will provide an online platform for small and large vendors and retailers to sell their wares, is expected to be launched next year.

In the initial phase Tata Group plans to sell products from its own brands including Star Bazaar supermarket and Westside department store. The company is also in talks with its joint venture partner Inditex to get Spanish brand Zara on board as well.

E-commerce in India is expected to almost double in two years to $20 billion by 2015 from $11 billion in 2013, according to a just-released report by Motilal Oswal Securities.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

In net neutrality, some may be more equal than others

Internet businesses and content creators in India have reason to cheer US president Barack Obama's latest endorsement of "network neutrality", the notion that all internet traffic should be treated as equal by service providers. "We believe that even the smallest player should have non-discriminatory access to the pipes," said the Internet Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) in a statement.

Unlike in the US, network neutrality has not become the subject of a major public debate in India yet. However, as subscribers shift to data-based services, telecom operators have been wanting to strike revenue-sharing deals with companies such as WhatsApp and Skype to make up for the income they lose from traditional SMS and voice.

Proponents of network neutrality fear that allowing service providers to strike such deals could create a discriminatory environment as companies with money can buy faster internet speeds to reach users and new businesses will lose out in the process.

Delhi-based media entrepreneur Nikhil Pahwa, who has been closely tracking the discussion on network neutrality in India, said, "I'm worried that telecom operators will create gateways to the internet." Pah wa said that if telcos — also large internet service providers in the country — create such gateways, it will stifle new internet businesses.

"Big companies will ultimately succeed and people like me will have to sign deals with them just to make my content accessible," said Pahwa of Medianama.

The practice of providing free access to certain services such as Facebook, as its founder Mark Zuckerberg proposed on his recent visit to India, is also being questioned for being discriminatory. Telecom company Airtel recently launched One Touch Internet, which allows access a limited set of services for first-time internet users.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

India now biggest market for Opera Mini web browser

Opera Mini, a popular mobile phone web browser, has achieved 50 million users in India, making the South Asian nation the largest market by this measure for the Norwegian company that's now scouting for possible acquisitions in the mobile advertising space in the country.

Opera Software chief executive Lars Boilesen estimated that the number of users in India would double to 100 million within a year given pace of growth of smartphones, a fourth of which are set to come from Nokia's Xpress web browser, which will further strengthen India's presence at the top.

"It's a mobile-first market and there are a lot of people here who haven't been connected to data," Boilesen said. The company's global operations will be centred on markets including Indonesia and Russia where users will access the internet for the first time via mobile phones.

Opera Mini has more than 300 million users worldwide. Microsoft acquired Nokia's mobile phone business for $7.5 billion in September and a month later, 100 million Nokia's Xpress web browser users have been asked to migrate to Opera Mini, which has become the default browser for Microsoft's feature phones and the Asha phones. A fourth of these users are in India. Microsoft will still service Asha phones already in the market.

The Opera Mini web browser compresses data by 90%, increasing browsing speed, reducing stalling and in turn increasing data consumption without driving up usage bills.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Google, Facebook, Microsoft vie for a share of Digital India pie

US technology giants are tripping over each other to get a slice of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Digital India and Smart Cities projects. In less than three months, Google and Hewlett-Packard have followed Facebook and Microsoft to queue up in government offices to show off their technology wares, highlighting renewed foreign investor interest as India's economy recovers.

Google, the owner of the world's largest search engine, has sounded out the telecom department about providing 'inexpensive' internet access across India through a network of helium-filled balloons, currently being tested for efficacy under 'Project Loon'. The solar-powered balloons are being run as pilot projects in New Zealand, California and Brazil and are Google's answer to Facebook's solar-powered drones.

"Sundar Pichai wanted to meet telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and discuss the matter personally but their travel dates clashed on Pichai's recent visit to India," a person familiar with the company's plans told ET. Prasad was in Germany during the visit by Indian-origin Pichai, a senior vice president at Google, who is widely seen as the second-most important man in the company after chief executive Larry Page.

As a result, Google executives had met senior officials of the department, including telecom secretary Rakesh Garg. When contacted, the company said it didn't comment on market speculation.

Google, along with Facebook and Microsoft, are vying to deploy their alternative technologies to offer 'last-mile' broadband connections in remote and inaccessible parts of India to provide access to high-speed internet. Under an ambitious Rs 1.13 lakh-crore 'Digital India' initiative, the government plans to use the national optic fibre network project to deliver e-services in areas such as health, education to every nook and corner of the country .

The network, which is positioned to form the backbone of the Digital India programme, will be deployed only at the Gram Panchayat level. Reaching the end consumer — homes, schools, hospitals and other institutions — may require wireless technology, especially in hard-to-reach areas. Google's balloons, Facebook's drones and Microsoft's TV white space technology could fill this gap.

Google's Project Loon uses balloons placed in the stratosphere at an altitude of about 32km to create an aerial wireless network that could provide internet access at up to 3G-like speeds. The layers of wind in the stratosphere, which vary in direction and speed, can be used to steer these balloons to where they're needed. Users on the ground can connect to the balloon network using a special internet antenna attached to their homes or buildings.

The competitive edge between the US behemoths came to the fore when Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg recently played down the effectiveness of Google's balloons, saying they have a shorter life than drones and can't survive the rigour of weather patterns in the troposphere, which lies below the stratosphere, apart from lacking the precision and control offered by drones.

India, which has seen renewed interest from foreign investors after going through an image crisis post the Vodafone retrospective tax episode and the 2G telecom scam, seems to be the latest battleground for the US giants, which are focused on this hot investment destination.

The Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance government has tried to assuage foreign investors by terming the tax move — initiated under the previous United Progressive Alliance-II government — as a bad idea and has taken steps to attract overseas funds by opening up new sectors such as defence and manufacturing for overseas investment. Inflation is easing and economic indicators are off lows. The stock markets are at an all-time high, boosted by foreign portfolio investments, reflecting new-found confidence in the Indian economy.

Modi's trip to the US was a roaring success and was followed by high-profile visits of top honchos from the US corporate world, including Microsoft's Satya Nadella and Zuckerberg, and also that of Masayoshi Son, Softbank's billionaire founder, all pointing towards an increased investor confidence.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Microsoft unveils free Office apps for iPhone, iPads

Microsoft is offering free upgraded versions of its Office software for iPhones and iPads, as the software giant further embraces the so-called "freemium" strategy favored by many newer companies seeking success online.

Give away a basic version of a popular service, and the world may beat a path to your door and be willing to pay a little more for extras, or so the thinking goes.

Microsoft, the longtime king of desktop software, has generally protected its model of getting paid upfront for what it developed. But as the company strives to stay relevant for workers and consumers in an increasingly mobile world — and better compete with Google, Apple and others — it is offering substantial versions of its most popular products free of charge for smartphones and tablets. Microsoft is hoping to keep people using its products across all their devices, while betting that many will ultimately pay for fuller-featured versions of the software.

"There's going to be a handful of tech companies that everyone depends on," for online software, said Maribel Lopez, a mobile tech analyst at Lopez Research. "Microsoft wants to make sure they're one of them."

As more workers use devices other than desktop PCs, they want to have the same capabilities on all their devices, says Michael Atalla, director of Microsoft's Office apps product management. "We want to make sure they can move seamlessly from one to another," he added.

The apps, including Word, Excel and PowerPoint, replace a limited iPhone version and upgrade a more powerful set of apps that the company released for iPad tablets in March. The older iPhone version allowed users to create and view files for free, but had very limited features. Earlier versions for the iPad offered more capabilities, but creating new files required a paid subscription to the company's Office 365 subscription service.

The new apps have more of the capabilities found in Office desktop software and don't require a paid subscription for creating files and other functions. Microsoft is still reserving some premium features, including security tools for business users, for paid subscribers. Microsoft will continue to charge for Office 365 on PCs and for business users.

The company seems to be thinking, "We'll perhaps sacrifice a little bit of revenue on the consumer side to make sure Office remains the standard for everybody," said Jan Dawson, chief analyst at Jackdaw Research. Businesses are increasingly willing to buy technology that their workers use at home, and that could shore up Microsoft's lucrative commercial business, Dawson said.

Although most of Microsoft Corp's revenue still comes from traditional software, CEO Satya Nadella wants to shift the company's focus to mobile and web-based products. The Redmond, Washington company recently said it delayed producing a new version of Office for Apple's Mac computers so it could focus on mobile apps.

One big challenge for Microsoft stems from the complexity of building different versions of each app for competing mobile operating systems. Apple's iPhones and iPads are far outnumbered by smartphones and tablets that use Google's Android mobile operating system. But different versions of Android run on a variety of devices from different manufacturers. Microsoft also has its own mobile operating system, although it's not as widely used.

Microsoft is inviting Android users to sign up for a test version of its new Office apps for Android tablets this week, but Atalla said the finished apps won't be released until early next year. He said new apps for Android phones are in the works, but declined to give a time frame.

In another move to keep up with shifting work habits, Microsoft this week announced a software partnership with Dropbox, an online storage company that's increasingly popular with people that want to store documents, photos and other files and share them with others. The two companies are integrating their software so documents stored in DropBox can be easily edited with Microsoft's Office tools. Microsoft also has its own online storage service, while Google and Apple offer competing services with their apps.

Amazon launches Echo, a speaker you can talk to

Do you want to talk to your speaker? has launched "Amazon Echo", a speaker you leave on all day and give it voice directions, like Siri on an Apple Inc iPhone.

As well as taking commands such as "play music by Bruno Mars" or "add gelato to my shopping list", Amazon said the device accesses the internet to answer questions such as "when is Thanksgiving?" and "what is the weather forecast?"

Amazon said the speaker, which runs on Amazon Web Services, continually learns a user's speech patterns and preferences.

Users start the speaker up saying the wake up word, "Alexa".

They can then feed Amazon Echo commands or questions or, if they want, wirelessly stream music web services such as Spotify, iTunes and Pandora via their mobiles.

Amazon Echo is priced at $199, or $99 for members for the online retail giant's Amazon Prime loyalty scheme. It is available on an invitation-only basis in coming weeks.

Amazon has had an unusually busy year, developing a mobile phone, video productions and grocery deliveries.

Last month, the company forecast sales for the crucial holiday quarter that disappointed Wall Street and investors who are eager to see Amazon curtail its ambitions and start delivering

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Govt plans Rs 10,000cr fund to create tech giants

The journey of tech behemoths like Google, Apple and Facebook — from startups to global giants — has caught the fancy of the Indian government, which is planning a Rs 10,000-crore electronics development fund to support ambitious startups in attaining scale.

The government feels that India needs to incubate tech giants from its soil — like those emanating from the West —as the country has a fast-growing mass of internet users and possesses a rich list of highly-skilled techies. The basic groundwork for kick-starting the initiative has been completed.

"It is in the process of finalization and we will get an approval very soon," a source in the ministry of information technology told TOI. This is a different fund from the Rs 10,000-crore venture fund announced in the Budget for startups in micro, small and medium enterprise (MSMEs).

The government will not make the investments directly, but will rather route the money through venture capital funds that are focused on electronics hardware and IT startups. "We will take small subscription in them. Thus, we will invest in the capital of the fellows who do the investments," the source said.

Elaborating on the idea behind the creation of the fund, the source added, "Innovations are not happening in our country, products are not being made in our country. We are, at best, a labour market. Our highly-qualified boys and girls are doing research in Bangalore and other labs, but they are essentially creating intellectual property products for foreign companies. Why can't we have our own products where we have our own intellectual property rights?"

The government feels that India has missed the bus in terms of creating technology giants, both in software and electronics hardware. "For example, in software, a Google or a Facebook or a Microsoft Office has not been developed in India. Despite being such a big IT power, India has not been able to make any products. We are able to do just services," the source added. The government will create the electronic development fund to make the investments. "We are not directly funding the startups, but rather we will collaborate with some venture capital funds," the source said.

The segments earmarked for funds include electronics, components and software. "The idea is to create a startup culture, a product culture, and innovation," the source said. Both domestic and foreign venture capital funds will be targeted by the government to route its investments.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

An era ends with Nokia smartphones

As the world moves rapidly towards the era of smartphones, a brand synonymous with mobile phones for two decades and one that actually introduced these more advanced devices to the masses will not be part of this future. Nokia, arguably one of the most popular mobile phone brands across the globe, will cease to exist among smartphones in the years to come as Microsoft, the new owner of Nokia's devices business, has decided to pull the curtains on one of the most iconic names of our time, even if only partially.

Microsoft will use the Nokia brand for 10 years for feature phones and has decided to re-brand the Nokia Lumia range of smartphones to Microsoft Lumia and discontinue the Asha and X ranges of smartphones. Redmond-headquartered Microsoft bought Nokia's devices and services business for $7.5 billion in April, along with the right to use the Nokia brand

"It's the end of an era," said brand consultant Harish Bijoor, who recalls that his second mobile phone was the Nokia Communicator, a brick-like yet swanky device that split open to become a mini laptop with a qwerty keypad and business apps. Owning this handphone at Rs 60,000 or Rs 72,000 more than a decade ago was akin to owning jewelry. It also meant you had arrived.

"Nokia is a loss. It's a brand that I have real affection for. It still has the largest brand recall," Bijoor added. Nokia made all the right moves in its heyday to become one of the most trusted brands among discerning Indian consumers who wanted value for money and high quality in any product they bought. It partnered with retailers, carriers and content makers and introduced a variety of models month after month to create a flourishing ecosystem for mobile phones in India, one of its top priority markets globally.

"When all phones were limited to few colours, Nokia launched the full colour screen phone, which was my first mobile phone," said 32-year old graphic designer Krishnaraj Singh, who has since used more than a dozen Nokia phones. Nokia's durability was another killer feature that no mobile phone can match today. "The phones wouldn't break even if I were to throw them," said 30-year old Kavita Kapoor, a public relations professional at a clothing brand in Gurgaon.

"It's a brand that has captured the imagination of every single person," said PepsiCo India Chairman and Chief Executive Officer D Shivakumar, who spearheaded Nokia's growth for almost half of its 18 years in India, during which it set up India's first mobile phone manufacturing factory in Sriperumbudur near Chennai in 2009.

At its peak, the factory produced 25% of all Nokia phones sold, which was 11% of the world's cellphones. From November 1, the factory will stop functioning. The plant was excluded from the Microsoft deal after its assets were frozen in tax-related proceedings.

"Nokia was more than a brand. It was consistent as a brand and as a culture, humble, honest, caring and empathetic," Shivakumar added. Not everybody feels that the former pride of Finland has lost its legacy. The brand will live on, even if it is restricted to feature phones used by 71% of India's 900 million mobile phone owners, which is only diminishing as they upgrade to smartphones.

"The brand equity will remain intact," said a former senior executive at Nokia, who did not want to be identified. "It will only move to Microsoft, which is not an unknown brand in India. I have seen customers walking into Microsoft retail stores that were earlier Nokia Priority Dealers with the same ease and confidence they had in Nokia," he added.

Many consumers believe that in terms of recall, the brand will prevail even for smartphones because it will take a while for the change of brand to register. Customers, especially those who have used or are using Lumia devices, are likely to habitually keep referring to them as Nokia Lumia instead of Microsoft Lumia.

"Buying a Microsoft Lumia is just not the same as buying a Nokia Lumia. For a generation that has grown up with the idea that a smartphone equals N Series or E Series, not being able to buy a Nokia smartphone will leave a void. Ten years later, no one will reminiscence about their iPhone 5, 6 or 10, it will be the Nokia N95 that they will recall," said Vaibhav Sharma, a lawyer and tech blogger who has followed Nokia for several years.

"If Nokia's demise proves one thing, it is that nothing stays forever in the world of technology. So don't be surprised if you see Nokia make a comeback in 2016. Remember, they didn't sell their patents or the HERE mapping division to Microsoft," he added

Under the terms of the deal, Nokia, which now operates telecom equipment, HERE maps and technologies businesses after the acquisition, will continue to own and maintain the Nokia brand. After the transaction closes, Nokia cannot license the Nokia brand for use in connection with mobile device sales for 30 months and cannot use the brand on Nokia's own mobile devices until December 31, 2015.