Microsoft chief in India, Andhra vs Telangana contest on cards?

  • Prasad Nichenametla, Hindustan Times, Hyderabad
  • Updated: Sep 30, 2014 02:15 IST

Microsoft Corporation chief Satya Nadella’s first trip to India since taking up the top job may trigger a tug of war between the chief ministers of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, both eyeing investments from the software giant.

Not without reason. The 46-year-old has strong links to the Telugu states. A young Nadella was a student of the famous Hyderabad Public School while his father BN Yugandhar, a retired IAS officer and former planning commission member, hails from Anantapur in Andhra.

Ever since he became CEO in February, the two governments have been making grand plans for a felicitation. They’ve been disappointed, though, by the highly secretive nature of the visit, on Nadella’s request, according to a source. Calls to Microsoft for details of his engagements went unanswered.

So far, Nadella has had a 30-minute meeting with Telangana CM K Chandrasekhara Rao (on Sunday) and a phone conversation with his Andhra counterpart Chandrababu Naidu. A senior Andhra government official confirmed the phone conversation. Telangana IT minister K Tarakarama Rao did not respond to HT’s calls and messages.

Since the division of the states, Telangana and Andhra have been vying for investments, often from the same companies. Earlier this month, Telangana lost out to Andhra on a Rs 3,000-crore plant of Hero Motor Corp, which scouted both states before settling on Chittoor. Now, many expect the battle to extend to wooing Microsoft.

Tech-savvy Naidu has been taking the credit for bringing the first Microsoft R&D centre outside the US to India, Hyderabad precisely. But his claims of making Hyderabad an IT hub are often mocked by Rao and his Telangana Rashtra Samithi party.

Read: Satya Nadella addresses staff at Hyderabad centre

For Rao, yet to draw a mega investment to the newly formed state, a nod from Microsoft to expand operations in Telangana would be a major achievement, adding credence to the business-friendly environment he promises.

For Naidu, the aim is to try and get Microsoft to set up shop in Visakhapatnam, which he envisages as the next Hyderabad.

A Microsoft foray would make Vizag an assured growth destination for others. On Monday, Naidu held an IT conclave in the seashore city, attended by honchos of Infosys, Google and others.

Nadella, meanwhile, spent the day visiting the Microsoft office and interacting with the employees. He is expected to be in Delhi on Tuesday, according to some media reports.

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