Saturday, 27 December 2014

Nadella meets Modi, reiterates intent to partner govt's digital India initiative...........

Satya Nadella, who is in India along with family to spend his first Christmas after taking over as chief executive officer (CEO) of Microsoft, met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and communications and information technology minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Friday and reiterated Microsoft’s interest in working with the government in the ‘Digital India’ initiative.  He also met Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and expressed his firm’s intent to invest more in India.

Microsoft has already shown interest in partnering the Indian government in its Digital India programme, and has offered to work towards connecting 250,000 panchayats with broadband. Earlier this month, Microsoft had sought permission from the government to start a pilot project in Bengaluru. The company has said it would  be interested in partnering the government in its citizen interface project, where it seeks citizens’ views on government initiatives.

The Digital India programme is estimated to cost Rs 1 lakh crore to get the whole of India connected. It envisages all government services to be delivered electronically by 2018. “It is always fantastic for me personally to be in India and the conversation I had with the minister was wide-ranging,” Nadella told agencies after the meeting. “I have an aspiration that in this mobile and cloud world, we can empower every individual citizen of India and every business organisation and institution in India to be able to try with new technology. So, I am looking forward to be a part of both the Digital India and Make in India," he added.

“I have requested him to consider electronic manufacturing in India. I have also requested that Microsoft has a great profile in the field of social services, (and) digital literacy can be promoted. We had a very purposeful exchange. I am very happy and I warmly welcome him,” Prasad told agencies after the meeting.

Nadella also held an all-hands-meet with the US-based company’s teams in India, where he reiterated the thrust on becoming a “mobile first, cloud first” player. In the meet that lasted about an hour, Nadella gave the India teams a pep talk, sharing thoughts and answering employees' questions.

“There was no announcement or news that was shared during the meet; it was more like a pep-talk where Nadella praised the Indian teams for the work they were doing and spoke about the company’s big focus on 'mobile first, cloud first',” said a Microsoft employee who attended the meet, on condition of anonymity. “He said there was a need to be even more driven towards this strategy.”

‘Mobile-first, cloud-first' has remained Nadella's mantra since his taking up the top job in February this year. Ever since, Nadella has been trying to put the world's largest technology company back on the innovation path.

Microsoft had recently announced the next version of its operating system, Windows 10, which will work across all platforms - from the most traditional (desktops) to the most modern (the internet of things). While it has also made its Office suite (Word, Excel and PowerPoint) - one of its biggest revenue earners - free for devices running on Apple's and Google's operating system (OS), all devices smaller than nine inches will get the Windows OS free. It has also made free cloud storage and a part of the code of the .NET software, used by millions of developers for building and operating websites and other large online applications.

Of the one hour that Nadella spent with Microsoft's India employees, 20 minutes were taken up by his speech with the remaining time dedicated to taking questions. Nadella addressed employees across the country through video conferencing from Delhi.