Nadella’s Rise Reflects How Good Indian Students Are: Chidambaram


NEW DELHI, India:  Satya Nadella’s appointment as CEO of the Microsoft is a reflection of how good Indian students are, said Finance Minister P. Chidambaram.

“Some Indian students are just as good (as in U.S. or China), otherwise you cannot have a 46-year old Indian named as head of Microsoft yesterday,” he told students of Shri Ram College of Commerce who responded with huge round of applause.

India-born Satya Nadella was Feb. 4 named as the new CEO of $78-billion tech giant Microsoft.

The 46-year-old Nadella, who takes over as the third CEO of the Redmond, Wash.-based firm, is the first Indian American to head the world’s largest software firm in its 38-year history, ending months of speculation as to who would succeed the retiring Steve Ballmer.

Chidambaram said Nadella has risen to be the head of Microsoft because he “acquired that professional edge which places him above the Chinese counterpart or an American counterpart or European counterpart.”

Addressing the business conclave of the SRCC, the Finance Minister said Indian students will have to keep in mind that they are in competition with students in other countries who are exposed to much greater knowledge.

“You are competing with some unknown student, somewhere in the U.S. or China, more likely China. That student is now in a university which ranks among the top 10 universities in the world. You are in the university which does not figure in the top 200 in the world.

“The world is global, whether you like it or not. All skills will now be measured only with one standard, the global standard,” he said.

In Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy Feb. 5 congratulated Nadella on his appointment.

In a message, Reddy said every Indian should be proud of Satya Nadella who has made a great mark in the world of software.

“He made the Telugu people proud,” the chief minister said.

“I am all the more happy that Satya was educated in Hyderabad Public School and was part of the HPS cricket team,” noted Reddy, who was a few years senior to him in the same school. Nadella is a cricket enthusiast.

The younger generation should get motivated by such personalities, he added.

Meanwhile, Nadella said he “raised his hand” to take up the top job at Microsoft as he believed his role as CEO would enable him to make an impact in an increasingly “software-powered” world and drive innovation.

In an interview posted on the company’s website, Nadella said he had thought “very deeply” about why he wanted to be the CEO and his answer was that he wanted to make an “impact.”

On why he wanted to be CEO of Microsoft, “is the question I asked myself very deeply when the opportunity came up.

“When I think about the core of why I am here, it is about impact. In a software-powered world what is a better place than Microsoft, in terms of being able to take all of this, human potential that we have in 130,000 people and apply it to a world that is rapidly becoming more software driven.

That opportunity is what fundamentally drives me, got me to take this. I raised my hand for this job,” Nadella said.

Later Nadella appeared for a brief interview with Microsoft’s customers and partners where he stressed that he will focus on innovation in taking Microsoft forward as technology continues to shape everyday life.

“This business of ours is exciting because in some sense it does not really respect tradition in what we have done in the past. It is all about the innovation going forward… The co-evolution of hardware and software is going to define a lot of what is going to happen,” Nadella said.

“We are living in a cloud-first, mobile-first world,” Nadella said in the webcast. “That is the world we are building for, and all of this is going to be mediated by software,” he said.

“Experiences such as online meetings at work, how I connect and communicate with my friends and family, how I consume content, entertainment, all are going to be changed by software and these are the places where Microsoft is squarely focused on bringing our innovation,” Nadella said.

The Hyderabad-native said innovation makes the technology industry and their work “exciting.”

“…Everyday you come to renew yourself with innovation. What you have done in the past is in the rear view, you need to think” on what new one can do in future, he said.

Calling himself a “lifelong learner,” Nadella said he gets energized when he sees people achieve “high standards in anything.”

He said even though he has been at Microsoft for 22 years, there is a lot for him to learn “both internally and externally.”

“Parts of Microsoft will be new to me. There is lot to learn,” he said, adding that over the next few months he would hit the road and meet Microsoft’s customers, partners and investors.

“Being in touch with perception and grounded in our reality is what’s going to help us do our best work going forward,” Nadella said.

In a separate video, Gates said he was “excited” with the choice of Nadella as CEO and as the technology industry changes, Microsoft has to innovate and move forward.

Nadella “has got the right background to lead the company during this era,” Gates said.

He said in the various business groups that Nadella has worked in, he “has driven innovation and got architectures put together that meet the needs” of the company’s customers.

Gates revealed that it was Nadella who asked him to spend more time at the company.

“I am thrilled that Satya has asked me to step up, substantially increasing the time I spend at the company. I will have over a third of my time available to meet with product groups and it will be fun to define this next round of products working together,” he said.

“There is lots of opportunity in front of us and it is exciting that we have got a strong leader to take us there,” Gates added.

The American media as well has welcomed Nadella’s appointment, noting that the technocrat has an enormous task ahead of him.

With Nadella now becoming the most powerful Indian American chief executive in the IT sector, the media was quick to reflect on the increasing influence of the small ethnic Indian American community in the country.

“The appointment of Mr. Nadella, who is 46 years old and leads the Microsoft division that makes technology to run corporate computer servers and other back-end technology, is considered a safe choice. It comes after a lengthy search during which the company considered a long list of external and internal candidates,” The Wall Street Journal wrote.

“His triumph in the U.S. comes at a moment when NRIs are flocking back to India, drawn by opportunities in their rapidly-changing homeland. The rise of India’s economy has created a new domestic confidence and swagger,” Time magazine said.

According to The Washington Post, the decision culminates a lengthy search that reportedly focused on outside candidates who could infuse the tech giant with a new vision.

“But Nadella emerged as a top internal candidate after his success in navigating some of the company’s main business customers into the cloud era,” it wrote.

Business Week said the new CEO needs to turn Microsoft more like Google.

“Of all the questions that Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s new chief executive officer, will face, the most pressing one may well revolve around deciding whether or not Microsoft still wants to be an arbiter of technology,” it said.

By selecting an insider after a search that lasted more than five months, the company signaled that it likely won’t pursue the kind of radical makeover that some on Wall Street had wanted, The Los Angeles Times wrote. Nadella is a well-respected executive dubbed by many analysts as a “safe” choice, it said.

The Seattle Times, however, said Nadella has two major drawbacks in the field.

“First, he lacks experience with consumer devices — an area Microsoft is struggling (Xbox aside) to gain traction in,” it said.

It’s important for Microsoft to gain market share in tablets and smartphones, lest customers completely abandonWindows-based devices in favor of devices running Apple’s or Google’s Android operating systems, it wrote.

“Second, he’s never been chief executive of a company as big and complex as Microsoft,” the Seattle Times wrote.

By Indiawest