India’s growing and robust startup culture, strong base of development partners and its large economy make it an “incredibly unique and valuable” market for Microsoft, senior executives at the technology giant have said.
“India is unique in a number of different ways. In India, (there is) such an embrace of technology in development as a whole. It is unbelievable the quality and diversity of development that is coming out of the country,” Senior Director of Windows Product Marketing at Microsoft Aaron Woodman told PTI on the sidelines of the just-concluded annual developers’ conference ‘Build 2016’ in San Francisco.
Underlining the importance of the Indian market from the perspective of Cloud computing, Microsoft’s Cloud Platform General Manager Julia White said that India is an “amazing and robust market”, particularly against the backdrop of the innovations coming from there and the growing start-up culture.
“That was one of the reasons we put data centres in India. We know that there is so much opportunity and so many startups and innovation going on in India that there is need and comfort around having data sovereignty and having information remain local in India,” she said.
Noting that there is significant development being done in India on Windows, Woodman said the country’s embrace of the English language in addition to the native languages and dialects has helped Microsoft a lot in terms of its acceleration and ability to speak to developers and have a conversation.
“It does not feel like it goes through a filter,” Woodman said adding that the widespread use of English is also one of the reasons that enabled Microsoft to bring its digital personal assistant programmeCortana to the Indian market.
“It is also one of the reasons why we have been able to do things like bring Cortana to India because we can do it in English. We could struggle with additional languages there but it is certainly our aspiration,” he said.
Making India even more unique is its large economy, which while presenting challenges around distribution, price and accessibility, is valuable because of the manner in which educational institutions across the country have embraced technology.
“These three things make India incredibly unique and valuable for us. The incredible development partners, the strong base of partnerships there, the language helps enormously from a business perspective and the economic opportunity.
“It is not just people but people that understand the value that technology can actually bring to education, to empowerment,” he said. Woodman stressed that given the way the broad population in countries like India, Israel and Brazil have embraced technology, it will not be a surprise that some of the advanced technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality “will likely have a footprint in those places before other places because of the cultural acceptance of the technology”.
White said Microsoft’s investment in India is “really based on the premise that there is opportunity not only from the startups and innovators perspective” but also because a lot of mainstream organisations in the country are trying to be competitive and stay ahead of the market.
“The only way to do that and innovate quickly is to move to a cloud model. We go through a lot of evaluations of where we would put data centers and where we invest locally and India is one of those countries because of its culture, the innovation coming from the country,” she said.
Terming India as an “incredible market” for Microsoft, Woodman however said that distribution in India is challenging.
He said the Indian market is not like the US and UK where there is a concentration of the distribution partners.
Instead India’s distribution network is massive and diverse and while that presents a huge benefit for the customers, it is “challenging” for the company.
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