Is a major company entering the market of a developing country a case of domination and exploitation waiting to happen, or is it more about helping promote the development of that nation by giving it the things that it wants?
Entry-level PCs in India are going to drop in price by 20% – that’s by a fifth! – in the next two months because Intel has found a way to make a deal. Sure, it’ll mean that they’ll get huge enhancements in any economies of scale, especially from their older products that might not even sell in the more advanced markets, and helps starve competitors that might pop up to service that market, but surely it’s a good thing. After all, it’s going to make it easier for the poor to access computers, facilitating their more rapid development and evolution.
Along the way of course, they’re also pushing for India to rollout WiMax, Intel’s vision for the future of wireless internet access. It has the potential to give internet access for millions more easily and more efficiently than even the developed world currently enjoys.
To me, it’s interesting how a ‘social good’ can be used to strengthen the strategic position of a firm. Indeed, perhaps it is by aligning the social good with the individual good that markets work… and how the world works. I’m just waiting for the anti-trust legislation in India.
Likewise Microsoft. For years, they’ve been buying in the radical innovation that they can’t generate themselves (not such a bad strategy…), and now it’s broadening widely with their pursuit of companies dealing with mobile advertising. Quite impressive really; in a complex and evolving field, it would seem that the primary strategy is to keep your options open…