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Nadella embraces E-comm cos,ropes in PayTm, Snapdeal for cloud

Microsoft event in Mumbai

Mumbai :  Microsoft chief Satya Nadella today said the tech giant will fund hundreds of new generation entrepreneurs in India’s ‘smart cities’ space and is overwhelmed by the start-up culture in the country, especially in e-commerce.

Delivering keynote address at ‘Future Unleashed: Accelerating India,’ which is Microsoft’s largest ever customer conference in the country, Hyderabad-born Nadella also announced new partnerships with e-commerce leaders such as Justdial, PayTm and Snapdeal.

Under the partnership, Microsoft will offer a special cloud initiative for start-ups aligned to smart cities, and make available its flagship devices such as the Microsoft Lumia 950 and 950 XL, and also Microsoft Surface Pro 4, which is its flagship computing device, in December and January, respectively.

The company also showcased the Surface Pro 4 at the event which will be available for Rs 75,000 and above.

Unveiling the new cloud start-up initiative to empower the smart cities, Nadella said its one-year cloud offering in the country, which is the first kind from a multinational corporation, the company will work closely with Justdial, PayTm and Snapdeal to help others develop solutions suitable for smart cities, apart from farming, healthcare and education.

“At Microsoft, we strive to empower every Indian citizen and every business and government organisation to achieve more.

“With our cloud and with Surface Pro 4 offerings, our customers here have the digital technology they need to seize incredible new growth and opportunity on a global scale,” Nadella, who runs an average of 5 kms a day and finishes 10 books on his weekends told a select group of reporters after delivering his keynote at the Future Unleashed.

He said he is extremely impressed with the adoption level of cloud computing in the country since it opened three data centres in Pune, Mumbai and Chennai 12 months ago.

Describing the pace of growth of ecommerce and start-up ecosystems as “pretty mind boggling,” he said he is not worried about the valuation part of this segment as Microsoft is not looking at acquisitions, but is concerned about the quality of the idea these entrepreneurs have

“I am not worried about the valuation, because we are not going to be investors in this space, but we are more interested in the quality of the ideas these innovators have and to me most of these start-up ideas are pretty good and seriously innovative,” Nadella said.

On the funding for local start-ups in the tech space to fasten the development of smart cities, Microsoft will provide individual fundings worth USD 120,000 or Rs 80 lakh worth of Azure computing so that these entrepreneurs can explore solutions and run smart city digital pilots.

This initiative is anticipated to impact over 50 smart cities in the next year through a catalogue of over 50 start-ups and ISV solutions, Microsoft said.

Nadella added that already the company has been running two pilots in Srikakulam in Andhra Pradesh and Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh since the past few months.

These partnerships with ecommerce firms and offering special programmes and products to them are aimed at helping organisations and governments in the country to explore unchartered business areas, enrich their customer and citizen experiences, and catalyse digital transformation with the local Microsoft cloud offering and new devices can enhance, Nadella said.

Under the ecommerce partnerships, Microsoft will help these companies innovate with the cloud so that their innovation energy is fully optimised.

The broad-ranging agreements with JustDial, PayTm and Snapdeal will see Microsoft partnering these ecommerce leaders in creating new marketplaces, new services and new experiences for their customers.

“Because our objective is to enable everybody in the ecosystem, especially the sellers on these platforms, and not just these front-end players become more productive,” Nadella said.

Justdial, PayTm and Snapdeal will use a range of cloud and mobile technologies from Microsoft including advanced cloud services like machine learning, Bing, Skype and Microsoft’s digital assistant, Cortana, to drive business innovation and customer delight, the company said.

JustDial and Microsoft will explore using Bing and cloud-based analytics to provide and enhance customer experience, while PayTm and Microsoft will work on three core areas of partnership to integrate the PayTm app and PayTm Wallet into Cortana to enable consumers to pay for their utility bills and carry out mobile transactions easily.

PayTm will also use Office 365 for their merchants’ inventory and account management.

Lastly, PayTm will also facilitate and support Microsoft service sales via their merchant network.

Snapdeal will work with Microsoft cloud platforms to create a digital automotive dealership that is expected to change the way customers make automotive buying decisions.

Snapdeal and Microsoft will use Skype, Bing and Cortana to provide new engagement platforms for Snapdeal customers.

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