Ballmer stresses on need to innovate
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's India visit comes to a close today. He met with Indian chief technology officers and even with small channel partners who help push Microsoft products in India.
Ballmer was actually stumped by a problem faced by the channel partners. The point was that Microsoft Windows, when bundled with the computer hardware, doesn't come under the purview of Microsoft's three-year warranty. So, the channel partners have problems during servicing, having to pay from their own pockets. Ballmer accepted that this is not a problem abroad, as most partners are able to tide over this cost through call centres. But, not in India and other emerging markets.
Yesterday, in a glittering event, attended by the who's who of the Indian corporate world, including the likes of Mukesh Ambani, chairman of Reliance Industries, and S Ramadorai TCS CEO, Ballmer stressed on the need for continuous innovation in business and life. The summit on 'Unlocking Innovation', was organised jointly by Microsoft and CNBC-TV18 in Mumbai, last evening.
Interestingly, Ballmer was introduced by the only other dropout from his Stanford MBA class, Ambani. He was his usual energetic self as he spoke to India Inc about the critical importance of innovating in business and in life.
He said that the holy grail for technology companies like Microsoft, which is low-cost computing, has more to do with innovation than with price.
According to tax expert Pankaj Jain, "The levels of energy which he displayed, is something you don't see in the Indian corporate world and that is something we need to innovate too."
Meanwhile, Ballmer's thoughts on innovation struck a chord across corporate India that has spent the past decade restructuring and re-inventing itself to find a place in the global economy.
According to R Gopalakrishnan, executive director, Tata Sons, "Those that do not innovate are not available anymore. Indian companies are on their way, but have a long way to go."
Gulu Mirchandani, CMD of Mirc Electronics said, "Steve was talking about innovation and I think that certainly drives a company. We are doing it in a much more unstructured, smaller manner, but Microsoft is running it in the way of a process and system. Bill Gates is reviewing innovation, which is a big take away for me."
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