“Every time I visit, I’m energised to see the advancements India is making and truly believe technology is a key enabler for India to thrive and create more opportunities for every individual and business in its economy,” said Satya Nadella, who was appointed as successor to Steve Ballmer in February. “We are keen to partner with the government and industry at large to help make this vision a reality,” he told ET in an exclusive interview.
Nadella, 47, gave the interview ahead of chairing the meeting of a jury that will select the winners of The Economic Times Awards for Corporate Excellence 2014. The 11-member jury of industry luminaries deciding the awards will meet in Mumbai on Monday, September 29.
On Sunday, Nadella will be a guest in New York at the Indian-origin community’s reception for the prime minister. Earlier this week, Microsoft’s main rival Google announced that it is joining hands with the government to promote several of the aims of the Digital India effort.
Modi, who has been elected on the plank of development, has made the government’s ‘Digital India’ initiative for a connected economy one of the important elements of his plan to modernise India.
Nadella, who is only the third CEO that Bill Gates-founded Microsoft has had in its nearly four-decades-long history, said businesses were looking forward to an accelerated growth phase in India and technology could play a pivotal role in spurring that growth. “Growth will need computing infrastructure on a massive scale,” he said.
Hyderabad-born Nadella, who studied engineering at Manipal University and was part of the early wave of engineers who moved to the US, said his journey from “home here in India to Microsoft” where he has spent 22 years was “incredible and humbling”.
He urged the present lot of engineers in India seeking technology careers to be bold and tenacious. “My advice to those who are pursuing careers in technology is to really think about the work you’re driving and why it matters. Believe that you can make it happen and go after it with boldness and tenacity. And remember that success doesn’t happen overnight, be persistent and ask yourself what you can do to push to the next level each day,” said Nadella, who is a cricket buff and loves running.
As for Microsoft and its future, he said the Seattlebased company is excited about its Skype Translator for multilingual conversations, personal smartphone assistant Cortana and machine learning for cloud computing.
“We will reinvent productivity to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to do more and achieve more. That is our moonshot,” said Nadella, who in the seven odd months that he has been in charge, is attempting to reengineer the long-time tech behemoth for success in a mobile-dominated world. Since taking charge, Nadella has cut thousands of jobs and spent $2.5 billion to buy the maker of Minecraft computer games.