Microsoft-Reliance Amity: India a Hot Spot For Their Future Digital Ambitions

Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella engaged in an informal conversation on February 24 at the Future Decoded CEO Summit which was attended by more than 150 CEOs. They discussed the nuances of the expanding business landscape and the potential of India as a digital nation.

Crux of the Matter

Nadella’s High Hopes for India
At the Summit, Satya Nadella gave a solo presentation on India’s growing digital potential and appetite for technology, with its 560 million Internet users, 450 million mobile users, and the third-largest start-up ecosystem in the world. He indicated that the defining capability for companies would hinge on how they built their own technology as 72% of jobs for software engineers were outside the technology industry.

India’s Demographic Dividend had received notice in this year’s Budget. Satya Nadella also pointed out the 650 million population under the age of 25 as a great asset for the IT sector which is valued at $180 billion. He later joined Mukesh Ambani for a brief chat.

The Reliance Chairman highlighted the growth India registered in the past decades by saying, “when you were joining Microsoft in 1992 the economy in India was $300 billion and today it’s $3 trillion and fundamentally this whole progress in a certain way has happened on the back of technology,”

Strong Grassroots Turn into Sturdy Biz Ties
Jio and Microsoft have partnered under which Jio’s internal employees would be moved to Microsoft Office 365 and it would be shifting all of its existing software applications to Microsoft Azure Cloud.

I am very privileged that you have committed to India on a scale that I never anticipated that a multinational will and we’re very excited about our upcoming partnership. And I think, as we look at this decade, it will be a defining partnership.

– Mukesh Ambani on partnership with Microsoft

Ambani believes that India today when Trump is to visit India, is very different from what President Carter or President Clinton or even President Obama observed in their visits to India.

Microsoft has come up with programs like Microsoft for Startups, corporate venture fund M12, and ScaleUp program specially designed for Series A-C startups which are aimed to boost the start-up ecosystem in India. In June 2019 Microsoft has pledged to invest up to $10 million in Indian start-ups.

Nadella questioned Ambani on his future ambitions for SME businesses and how the landscape can be changed. To which Ambani shared the growth of Reliance over 5-decades from a start-up to a multi-national firm.

Every small business and entrepreneur in India has the potential to become a Dhirubhai Ambani or a Bill Gates and that’s what differentiates India from the rest of the world. The entrepreneurial power we have in our grassroots is enormous.

– Mukesh Ambani

Mukesh Ambani also made relevant comparisons between the time before and after the launch of Jio highlighting the impact and transformations it brought into the Indian telecom sector. He said, “India can become a premier digital society and what Jio has achieved in the last 3 years is 380 million customers who have migrated to 4G technology and where earlier broadband speed was 256 kbps and post-Jio now it is 21 Mbps across every single village in India.”

Mukesh Ambani also praised Nadella’s leadership style and his philosophy which he said is not just about product or profit but about people and their continuous reinvention of capability which was the strength of an organization.


Internet User Penetration Research shows that at the end of July 2019, the number of mobile subscribers across India amounted to approximately 1.1 billion. This was an increase of nearly 13% as compared to the subscription numbers in June 2016. In 2018, 29% of the population accessed the internet from their mobile phone. This figure is expected to grow to 35% in 2023. The introduction of the government’s Digital India initiative hand in hand with the increasing internet penetration over the recent years, resulted in the country’s digital population amounting to approximately 560 million active users as of January 2019. The traffic in the world’s second-largest internet market at this stage was largely dominated by mobile internet users. More Info  

Satya Narayana Nadella is an Indian American business executive. He is the chief executive officer (CEO) of Microsoft, succeeding Steve Ballmer in 2014. Before becoming CEO, he was the executive vice president of Microsoft’s cloud and enterprise group, responsible for building and running the company’s computing platforms. Nadella worked at Sun Microsystems as a member of its technology staff prior to joining Microsoft in 1992. At Microsoft, Nadella has led major projects that included the company’s move to cloud computing and the development of one of the largest cloud infrastructures in the world. More Info