Hyderabad: Celebrating a significant milestone, Microsoft’s India Development Centre (IDC) in Hyderabad marked 25 years of operations in the city, a journey that has played a pivotal role in shaping the city’s technology landscape. As one of the first multinational companies to establish operations in Hyderabad, Microsoft set the stage for what is now known as the Cyberabad-Financial District, hosting numerous prominent technology brands.
Rajiv Kumar, managing director and corporate vice president of Microsoft’s experiences and devices, reflected on the challenges encountered during the initial phase. “In 1998, it was Bill Gates who decided in favor of Hyderabad. At that time, India was not as technologically advanced as it is now. There was no internet; we had basic communication tools. The process of product development from a remote site was unfamiliar territory, and global development centers were not commonplace. We had to learn extensively about talent acquisition, product development, and fostering inclusive growth,” he recalled.
The subsequent phase witnessed substantial growth, with the IDC expanding from 100 to 1000 employees in a decade. Kumar highlighted the challenges faced during this period, including fluctuations in the number of projects. This prompted a strategic slowdown to reconfigure, leading to a consolidation of efforts in critical areas such as Windows, server products, and Office. This phase laid the foundation for the IDC’s engineering prowess.
The last decade has been characterized by significant innovation, with a focus on security, mobile technology, business continuity services, and more. The IDC’s notable contributions include Microsoft 365 (Office) Mobile, Indian language support, the development of the Azure Specialized AI Supercomputer, and initiatives to enhance accessibility within the Windows ecosystem.
Looking ahead, Microsoft IDC is embarking on a new phase with the construction of a new building to accommodate a growing workforce. While specific details regarding hiring plans, investments, and building configuration remain undisclosed, Microsoft currently employs around 20,000 professionals across multiple centers in India.
Rajiv Kumar envisions a future where technology, particularly generative AI, revolutionizes daily lives. He anticipates more interdisciplinary applications of AI across engineering, computing, finance, education, healthcare, and other sectors. Emphasizing the evolving role of technology in different professions, Kumar stated, “Doctors, to be the best, need to know many case studies. Technology is the answer. It won’t replace a doctor, but it can be a co-pilot for them.”
Kumar also emphasized the importance of analytical and reasoning skills as key attributes for the future. “The most interesting skills of the future will be analytical and reasoning skills. Individuals will be evaluated based on their ability to break down complex problems. Coding is a way of thinking in a linear, mathematical way. However, this doesn’t necessitate becoming an engineer. One can pursue a career in medicine, finance, or any field of their choice,” he added.
Microsoft is actively developing a responsible AI framework that prioritizes inclusion, privacy, trust, and transparency. Charu Srinivasan, corporate vice president of engineering, Azure core and cloud, and AI IDC site leader, emphasized the company’s commitment to becoming carbon-neutral and water-positive by 2030.
The ongoing initiatives showcase Microsoft’s enduring impact on Hyderabad’s technological landscape, illustrating a commitment to innovation, responsible AI development, and a sustainable future, she notes.
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