Microsoft intends to offer small businesses interest-free loans in a bid to secure customer loyalty.
The company's senior VP for small and mid-market solutions, Orlando Ayala, says the loans enable SMEs to acquire the technology they need to expand.
“The Microsoft financial company can provide loans at a low, or zero, interest rate. The loan will be a three-year-type agreement and we’ll work with local banks that have the infrastructure to support the scheme.”
Ayala says Microsoft has no interest in becoming a bank but is willing to carry all the risk involved with the loans.
He says the company will still make good money on software sales.
“Software is a high-margin business,” he says.
According to Ayala, the loan can also be used to purchase non-Microsoft software.
The scheme has been test-marketed in Brazil with “good results” and Ayala expects it to be available within 18 months in Australasia.
Ayala praises the New Zealand government for its support of small business.
“You have a sophisticated government that recognises how important the small business market is. These businesses could be the huge international companies of the future and we want to help them.”