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Microsoft Bets Big On Cloud, AI, Cortana And AR

Nadella was part of a panel discussion with Nandan Nilekani, former chairman of UIDAI and Binny Bansal, co-founder of Flipkart

Photo Credit : Bivas Banerjee

Microsoft is betting big on cloud & artificial intelligence (AI), Cortana (its voice-controlled intelligent virtual assistant), and augmented reality, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said at an event in Bengaluru today, in his first visit to India after being named the chief of the tech giant in February 2014.

Nadella was part of a panel discussion with Nandan Nilekani, former Chairman of UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India) and Binny Bansal, co-founder of Flipkart. While Nilekani talked about the success of the UIDAI project, Nadella said that he would want Microsoft's services to be a "great participant in the India stack." He said, citing an example that Indians should be able to login to Microsoft Office 365 using their Aadhar number.

Nadella also stressed on the increasing rate in which startups in India are adopting the Microsoft cloud. "In the last 12 months, more than 2,000 startups have signed up on the Microsoft cloud," he said. As per Microsoft, today one-third of the startups in India run open source solutions on Microsoft's Azure cloud platform.

A significant number of these startups are driving innovation using Microsoft's advanced cloud services in areas such as big data, IoT, advanced analytics, and cognitive services. They are also using Microsoft's bot framework to create chat bots and AI-powered products and services. The usage of Microsoft's advanced cloud services by Indian organisations has increased 150 per cent in the last one year, the company said in a statement.

Microsoft also announced a partnership with leading e-commerce player Flipkart as part of which the latter will adopt Microsoft Azure as its exclusive cloud platform. "Combining Microsoft's cloud platform and AI capabilities with Flipkart's existing services and data assets will enable Flipkart to accelerate its digital transformation in e-commerce and deliver new customer experience," Nadella said.

Starting with computing infrastructure, Microsoft Azure will ultimately add a layer of advanced cloud technologies and analytics to Flipkart's existing data centres. Flipkart plans to leverage AI, machine learning, and analytics capabilities in Azure to optimise its data for innovative merchandising, advertising, marketing, and customer service.

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microsoft satya nadella nandan nilekani binny bansal