Cyberabad’s Swagger Returns as Native Son Takes Top Spot at Microsoft


HYDERABAD, Andhra Pradesh — Not since March 24, 2000, when President Clinton addressed a gathering of technology entrepreneurs here, has the Hyderabad software industry’s swagger been more pronounced, now that Satya Nadella, a Hyderabad native, has been named the chief executive of Microsoft.

“It is an exciting and proud moment for all of us,” said Aditya Marri, a member of the Board of Governors, at the Hyderabad Public School, where Mr. Nadella was a student. “Satya has been a role model for all current and past students of the school.”

On Wednesday morning, after Mr. Nadella’s appointment was announced overnight, the school conducted a special assembly session to solemnly celebrate what it called the “finest success” of its old students, with several of his classmates and even former teachers attending.

The news couldn’t have come at a better time. The boost to the city’s ego is badly needed, having been battered over the past several years by the ups and downs of the tech industry and a major accounting scandal at one of the city’s biggest companies. Mr. Clinton’s visit might have been seen as a sign that we had arrived on the global scene, but it also coincided with the beginning of the end of the dot-com bubble.

To fully understand where the capital of Andhra Pradesh gets its attitude, one has to consider where it was before the first tech boom. When I landed in the city after college to interview with three media organizations in 1995, my first impressions convinced me that I had made a mistake by not opting for Bombay, Delhi or Bangalore as a career destination – all I saw were the congested narrow roads marked with quaint shopping streets, a laidback work culture with no sense of modernity and a huge polluted lake at the city’s heart.

Reeling under the fiscally bankrupting impact of the electoral promises of complete prohibition and other populist welfare measures, the city had frequent power cuts and no money for development. Sweeping changes resulting from the revolutionary economic reforms of the central government left the city untouched….

Click here to read more