Microsoft joins ONDC network to launch shopping app in India

NEW DELHI: Microsoft becomes first major tech company to join Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC), an Indian government-backed platform created to provide a level playing field for all e-commerce businesses.

The Redmond-based company said that, through ONDC, it intends to introduce social e-commerce to the Indian market. It will also launch a shopping app in India, which will be available on the ONDC network and will allow buyers to discover the best price offered by retailers and sellers.

India’s e-commerce market has witnessed unprecedented growth, especially after the covid-19 pandemic forced businesses and customers to transact online. India’s e-commerce sector is expected to grow at a CAGR of 19.24% to reach $111.40 billion by 2025, from $46.20 billion in 2020, according to an August report. report by the Indian Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF).

ONDC is considered by many to be a game changer, given its UPI-like network for digital commerce. “It’s a win-win solution for buyers and sellers because it will allow them to connect without depending on any e-commerce solution,” a Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement after the announcement.

T. Koshy, Managing Director and General Manager of ONDC, pointed out that Microsoft can implement its creative ideas such as social commerce faster by utilizing the strength of ONDC’s open network users.

“Playing hands with Microsoft demonstrates our credibility in fostering an open e-commerce ecosystem with many possibilities,” Koshy added.

Big e-commerce players have helped small merchants and businesses digitize their inventory and sell online. In May, Amazon announced that it had digitized more than 40 lakh MSMEs and created more than 11.6 lakh direct and indirect jobs over the past nine years.

However, regulators in many countries are concerned about the dominance of companies like Amazon and its impact on smaller sellers or competing platforms. For example, Amazon is under investigation in the UK for giving an unfair advantage to its own retail business and sellers who use its services at the expense of third-party merchants.

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Edwin S. Wolfe