D'Arcy from Winnipeg
Solution Architecture, Business & Entrepreneurship, Microsoft, and Adoption

Tech Ed Thoughts – Microsoft <3’s India

Friday, May 15, 2009 11:16 AM

As I watched the keynote on Day 1 of TechEd, something occurred to me: No Steve Ballmer. No Steve Ballmer? In the middle of North America’s (and really the worlds) economic situation, why wouldn’t Steve Ballmer be present to address the throngs that gathered at the biggest Microsoft learning event of the year?

The answer is that he did attend Tech Ed and did deliver the keynote…it was just at Tech Ed India.

It seems odd that Microsoft would have scheduled both events at the same time, but that sentiment may be fueled by the probably-wrong assumption that there aren’t counterparts in India to our Hanselman, Heuer, and Don Box.

But you can’t help but wonder what the rationale was behind Ballmer, given the choice of home turf or an away game, choosing the latter. Now, maybe its nothing…it could be that, given many people want to see Ballmer speak, India was chosen as the Ballmer recipient this year.

But to look at the investment that Microsoft is making in India, you can’t help but wonder. Microsoft’s India Development Center boasts on their website:

The Microsoft® India Development Center (MSIDC) is innovating and incubating technologies and products which impact millions of Microsoft customers worldwide. Starting with two products and 20 employees in 1998, MSIDC has grown over the last 10 years to 1500 plus employees.

Our teams own complex technical problems and engineer products end-to-end from India. MSIDC has contributed to the filing of 220 patents by

Microsoft Corp in the last four years and also received the Top Innovator Award from Dataquest in 2006.

MSIDC is now building deep missions in each of its 20 plus focus areas which span across all six Microsoft businesses.

Someone on Twitter pointed out that the Hyderabad is the second largest R&D center for Microsoft worldwide (I haven’t confirmed this, but a 54 acre campus and 1500 employees…doesn’t sound far off).

The language on the rotating banner of the site is interesting as well, placing little doubt on the importance they see coming from India:


Now, this is *not* meant as some protectionist-slanted blog post about jobs leaving North America and going elsewhere. We live in a global economy, and as such competition for employment is no longer limited to just our cities, provinces/states, or even bordering countries. Even more importantly, circling the wagons and enforcing an in-breeding mentality for growing an economy isn’t healthy. We need to think globally as well as locally.

What I did want to raise is the perception that could be gleamed from all of this of where Microsoft is hedging their bets for growth and innovation, and its not North America. If anything, this should be a gut check for those of us in NA to really assess what we want our roles to be in the new economy once the downturn is over and the landscape is reset.


# re: Tech Ed Thoughts – Microsoft <3’s India

I've been to the Hyderabad campus and met several folks there. Gorgeous place, nice place to work, great people. Of course, in the middle of a horrible shit hole outside the compound... but inside - awesome. I would live there :) 5/15/2009 6:38 PM | Aaron Erickson

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