News & Analysis

Microsoft Joins ONDC, the First Big Tech to be Onboarded

The company could also be in the process of launching a shopping app in the country that is available to users via ONDC

Microsoft has become the first global giant from the technology industry to join the Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC), an initiative backed by the government of India to provide a level playing field for all eCommerce activities in the country. 

Through the ONDC engagement, Microsoft intends to introduce social eCommerce in the Indian market and towards this end is planning to launch a shopping app in the country that would be available on the ONDC network and allow users to discover the best price offered by both retailers and sellers online. 

According to the Indian Brand Equity Foundation, India’s digital commerce market has witnessed robust growth post Covid-19 pandemic, forcing enterprises to sell and customers to purchase online. The industry is projected to grow at a CAGR of nearly 20% from $46 billion in 2020 to about $111 billion by 2025. 

The world is waiting and watching as to how ONDC could prove to become the game changer in the entire eCommerce space, given that it would create a network for digital commerce, much in the same way that the UPI had done so for digital payments. “It is a win-win for both buyers and sellers as it will enable them to connect without dependency on any e-commerce solution,” a Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement.  

ONDC managing director T Koshy said Microsoft can implement its creative ideas like social commerce faster using the strength of ONDC’s open network users. “Joining hands with Microsoft is a testament to our credibility to foster an open e-commerce ecosystem with numerous possibilities,” Koshy added. 

Large e-commerce players have helped smaller merchants and businesses to digitise their inventory and sell online. For instance, in May Amazon announced that it has digitised over 40 lakh Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and created over 11.6 lakh direct and indirect jobs in the last nine years.  

However, there are also concerns that companies such as Amazon are using their dominant position for anti-competitive practices. For instance, Amazon is being investigated in the UK for giving an unfair advantage to its own retail business and sellers that use its services at the expense of third-party merchants. 



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