The public cloud services market (in India) was around $3.5 bn in 2020, and is expected to reach $10 bn by 2025, says Rajiv Sodhi, COO, Microsoft India
NEW DELHI : The blockchain and crypto community might promote the idea of a decentralized and server-less internet, but Microsoft seems to be unfazed. In an interview, Rajiv Sodhi, chief operating officer, Microsoft India, shared his views on the importance of the third generation of internet (Web3), how 2021 shaped the cloud ecosystem in India and how the tech major is changing its strategy to adapt to Indian regulations. Edited excerpts:

How did the cloud ecosystem shape up in 2021?
The public cloud services market (in India) was around $3.5 billion in 2020, and is expected to reach $10 billion by 2025. That’s a very strong growth. Besides, it’s no more just dominated by what was earlier—the IT and technology industry and a few other pockets. What you’re seeing now is adoption across the board. The other big trend is around hybrid work. It’s causing a fundamental shift not just in where we work and what kind of work we do, but also why we are doing it. We are also seeing a rise in citizen developers. That’s a big trend where cloud will again play a central role. At the end of the day, this whole need for innovation and digital transformation is creating a massive need to create applications. In fact, there will be over 500 million applications created in the next five years. So, you will see the majority of citizen developer platforms—the low code and no code platforms—creating what they need for their businesses, without necessarily knowing a lot of coding or being technical.
How have your cloud services evolved? What can we expect in the future?
At the end of the day, Microsoft is a platform company. We always build the platform on which other companies build their innovations. So, when Microsoft started as a company, the platform was Windows. Today, it is Azure. We’ve actually brought that thinking into the cloud world as well. And, not just Azure, Teams is the newest platform. It’s not just an application or an offering for remote meetings, it’s fast becoming the user interface (UI) for the enterprise.
As people use Teams to connect with colleagues, it’s also becoming a framework where your applications can reside, so that you can use that same UI to not only collaborate and work with your colleagues, but also use the application without leaving the interface. As we go forward, we definitely see a trend of collaborative applications coming in.
Are you reshaping your strategy based on the regulatory moves in India?
We work very closely with not just global standards, but even local governments. We make sure that we are in compliance with the country we are operating in, and most certainly India. We were the first cloud provider to get ministry of electronics and information technology certification. The key is to provide transparency to how you’re working with various regulations—that’s where the trust centre plays a role.
How will Microsoft services evolve for the Web3 ecosystem?
We continue to invest on the platform. Web3 is going to have significant impact. Blockchain and crypto will play an important role. The new set of open protocols and services that are being developed will be key in how Web3 eventually shapes up.
Our objective is to ensure as the innovations happen, we provide it on our platform.
Does the concept of decentralization for Web3 bother you?
I would say that’s absolutely fine. If you look at our outlook on how we work with customers, we’ve always said it’s about the intelligent cloud and intelligent edge. As we all know, there is a proliferation of devices, whether it is IoT, whether it is edge—the edge computing market is growing pretty fast. 5G is going to have a play. But as this gets decentralized, one thing we have learned is that data has gravity—wherever data is introduced, which is obviously the edge, computing is going to move there.
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