With Satya Nadella said to be in contract negotiations to head global IT giant Microsoft, a new report suggests another India-born could be in the running too — Google’s Sundar Pichai.
Microsoft is expected to announce its new CEO this week, five months after Steve Ballmer said he was retiring giving the company a year to look for a successor.
Multiple reports in US media over the last few days indicated Nadella, a 46-year-old from Hyderabad and a senior Microsoft executive, was close to clinching the coveted position.
The company has neither confirmed nor denied those reports.
It also did not comment on a report that Pichai, senior Google vice-president in charge of Android, Chrome and Apps, has emerged a strong candidate from outside the company.
He was called the search team’s “top choice”, by SiliconAngle, a tech news site, which said, citing sources, negotiations with Pichai were in “full swing”.
Forty one-year-old Pichai is a rising star at Google, a member of co-founder and CEO Larry Page’s inner circle called the L Team. He received a major career bump in April 2013 when he was given charge to steer Android, the world’s leading operating software for smartphones.
There were reports subsequently that he could be leaving for a senior position at Twitter and that Google paid him an extra $40 million to make him stay.
“Sundar has a talent for creating products that are technically excellent yet easy to use,” Page wrote about Pichai at the time of the Android move.
Pichai was born and raised in Tamil Nadu, and moved to the US after passing out from IIT Kharagpur. He went to Stanford and Wharton business school. He joined Google in 2004.
Piachai soon became a member of the leadership team, joining a galaxy of others of Indian origin: Nikesh Arora, Amit Singhal, Sridhar Ramaswamy and Vic Gundotra.
“And he loves a big bet,” Page had written about him then.
Microsoft is indeed a big bet, as big as it gets.
Though the SiliconAngle story was picked up by many IT blogs and reports, there hasn’t yet been a ny official corroboration.
In contrast, there were multiple reports on Nadella —in Bloomberg, New York Times and the Wall Street Journal — all based on information from separate, independent sources.
But SiliconAngle was standing by its report.
Microsoft dominates the Indian enterprise software market space with a 31.1% market-share, according to IDC.