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This article was first published 9 years ago  » Business » Nadella reiterates intent to partner Modi's Digital India initiative

Nadella reiterates intent to partner Modi's Digital India initiative

By BS Reporter
December 26, 2014 21:53 IST
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Microsoft CEO holds all-hands-meet with India employees, reiterates thrust on 'mobile-first, cloud-first' strategy

Satya Nadella, who is in India to spend his first Christmas after taking over as the chief executive officer of Microsoft with his family, on Friday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Minister for Communications and IT Ravi Shankar Prasad, and reiterated the company's interest in working with the government towards its Digital India initiative.

Image: Microsoft chief Satya Nadella met Union Minister for Communications and IT Ravi Shankar Prasad. Photograph via Twitter

"Mr. Satya Nadella told me that he was keen in partnering with the Government of India making Digital India a reality," Prasad posted on micro-blogging website Twitter along with photographs of the meeting.

Nadella also met Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and discussed modernisation and security of the government's digital infrastructure, among other issues.

"It was a courtesy visit. Microsoft is the company that is a multinational but is operating in India for India and Indian businesses.

"In every meeting ofcourse both 'Digital India' and 'Make in India' are top of mind and for us, top of mind in terms of our contribution to India," Nadella said after his meeting with Jaitley.

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 for this in Bengaluru. The company has also said that it would be interested in partnering the government in its citizen interface project - where it seeks the citizen views on government initiatives.

Government's Digital India programme is estimated to cost over Rs 100,000 crore (Rs 1,000 billion) to get whole of Indian connected. Digital India envisages all government services to be delivered electronically by 2018.

"It's always fantastic for me personally to be in India and the conversation I had with the minister was wide ranging," Nadella told agencies after his 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.

Image: 'Mobile-first, cloud-first' has remained Nadella's mantra. Photograph via Twitter

Hyderabad-born Nadella also said, "We are making huge investments in our data centres in particular, which we think can empower organisations in this country to be world class with the access to great technology."

"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.

Besides this meeting, Nadella held an all-hands-meet with the US-based company's teams in India where he reiterated the company's thrust on becoming a "mobile first, cloud first" player. In the meet that lasted around one hour, Nadella indulged Microsoft's India teams in a pep talk, sharing his thoughts and also answering employees' questions.

"There was no announcement or news that was shared during the meet, but 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 conditions of anonymity. "He said that 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.

Nadella has since his appointment been focused on putting the world's largest technology company back on the innovation path. Microsoft recently announced the next version of its operating system, the 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 systems (OS), all devices smaller than nine inches will get the Windows OS free. It has also made free cloud storage and 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, around 20 minutes were taken up by his speech, while the remaining time was dedicated to taking questions from the teams. Nadella addressed employees across the country through video conferencing from Delhi.

Additional inputs from PTI

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