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Microsoft is now building global products in India: CEO Satya Nadella – Economic Times

Microsoft is making “significant investment” in India and, unlike earlier, is building global products in the country, the company’s Chairman and CEO, Satya Nadella said on Wednesday. “We have the largest development center outside of the United States. We have put significant capital investments in building out four large data centers…” Nadella said in an interview to ET.

Nadella who was
conferred with the Padma Bhushan, India’s third-highest civilian award, in October last year said that historically, the company has built products elsewhere and sold them in India. This has changed and the company is now making global products here.

Read the full interview here

He added that it’s important for multinational corporations to create “local surplus” in the countries they are operating in.

Praising India’s technological progress, Nadella pointed out that as a percentage of GDP growth, India technology usage is very high. It’s not just the start-up unicorns but also the small businesses, public sector enterprises, large multinationals that are making intense use of digital technology in India to further create more digital technology for their users and customers. The Hyderabad-born Chairman and CEO of the $198 billion (revenues for fiscal 2022) technology behemoth Microsoft also lauded India’s public goods such as Aadhaar and the Unified Payments Interface (UPI).

“What’s happening with India and digital public goods is nothing other than astonishing. Nowhere else do I see such rigorous effort being put,” said Nadella, 55, who is only the third CEO to helm Microsoft in its 47-year history.

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Widely credited with transforming the iconic software maker —now the world’s third most valuable company with a market capitalisation of $1.79 trillion behind Apple and Saudi Aramco— by pivoting to the cloud and mobile businesses, Nadella said that “the next big wave” is going to be the Artificial Intelligence . “I’m very excited about what’s happening with AR-VR (Artificial and Virtual Reality) and Metaverse…” he said, adding that the Microsoft backed Open AI platform ChatGPT which has become all the rage recently will be integrated with several Microsoft products including its search engine Bing. This may put the software giant in direct competition with search behemoth Google.

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Technology not an end, but means to end for inclusive growth of all: Satya Nadella
“I like it when $10 plus billion dollar businesses in Microsoft, like Bing, are sort of considered somehow non-existent. So, it’s a good position to be in because you can surprise the world. We’re very excited about our partnership with open AI. It’s the most successful, most real use of large models in some real world scenarios. And you will see do more with it across all domains in the course of months. And so yes, we look forward to sort of seeing what’s possible in every domain including Bing so I think stay tuned,” he said.

Microsoft has
partnered Reliance Industries owned Jio Platforms as well with Adani for their
forays into the data center business, while the Tata group has hosted its
Tata Digital business on Microsoft’s Azure platform. Further it has tie-ups with
Indian start-ups such as inMobi and LambdaTest which have helped these firms expand globally, said Nadella.

Nadella who is on a 4 day trip to India also said that the world’s fifth largest economy has an advantage when it comes to human capital, which will play a key part in building technologies of the future such as AI and quantum computing. He added that India is the second largest country in terms of developers who are building products using Microsoft’s software development platform GitHub and as per its LinkedIn data, India’s rate of people upskilling themselves is twice the global rate.

“We already have the human capital that knows about all this technology and has the aspiration… That to me, is what I think India should be doing and is doing.”

Speaking on the new world order post the geopolitical strife sparked by the Russia-Ukraine war which has splintered the Internet and led many technology companies to pull out from some major economies, Nadella said that “the world is going through a new phase of figuring out what configuration of globalization works for them. And I think that we as companies have to navigate what is clearly a more complicated geopolitical world.”

“With Ukraine, we have a very simple principle that when anybody is being attacked on the cyber domain, we help to defend. And in the case of Ukraine, we were right there and said, “how do we help the government of Ukraine continue to function when they were under attack?” So to me, we want to meet the real world. We are an American company, subject to American foreign policy, but that said, we ultimately will be tested in India (on in the country we are operating in (on) how are we able to create local surplus,” he said.

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