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Updated: March 21, 2014 01:18 IST

‘Azure helps Indian developers leapfrog to the cloud’

Staff Reporter
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Satya Nadella
The Hindu Satya Nadella

The SMB segment represents 15 to 18 per cent of Microsoft India’s overall business

Microsoft India is betting big on small and medium businesses in the country, with its cloud offering Windows Azure as a primary vehicle to push this growth. The company announced that a “significant portion” of growth in the past year has been from its cloud businesses, which is currently adding 2,000 enterprise customers per month across industry sectors.

This focus was echoed in a video address by Microsoft Corp’s new Indian-born CEO Satya Nadella, who told participants at India’s first Azure Conference in India that he believes the industry is “living in and developing for a mobile first, cloud first world”. “Now more than ever, organisations require modern applications that deliver cloud scale, while integrating with existing systems through hybrid cloud capabilities,” he said adding that Azure provides the Indian ecosystem of IT developers and start-ups a “powerful platform” to build modern applications and bring them to market worldwide. “It helps Indian customers leapfrog to the cloud and accrue significant cost savings,” Mr. Nadella said.

Later, in an interaction on the sidelines of the conference, Microsoft India Chairman Bhaskar Pramanik reiterated the company’s focus on SMBs in India. This segment represents 15 to 18 per cent of Microsoft India’s overall business and is growing faster than all other businesses, Mr. Pramanik said. With the cloud, SMBs have access to “killer applications” in social, mobile and analytics, he said. “There are over 40 million SMBs, employing between 10 and 500 people, that cannot afford to invest in technology, buy equipment, set up stacks and the likes. Azure’s enterprise customers in India include three leading private banks and auto manufacturers, five leading system integrators and has 1,700 customer start-ups, he said.

Nadella’s mandate?

Mr. Pramanik also pointed out that the new CEO also shares this excitement for the possibility of “transforming the Indian SMB”. When asked about any special mandates or vision that Mr. Nadella may have for his home country, Mr. Pramanik said that though he didn’t have a “special mandate for India”, his India focus revolves around the huge developer ecosystem which is available, the hotbed for innovation and the frugal way in which we use IT.

“All of these are enabling us to create products that are truly meant for emerging markets. That’s how he looks at India, which is not very different from the focus Bill Gates or Steve Ballmer had for the region.”

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