Hailing India's startup culture, developer ecosystem and economy, senior executives at Microsoft have called the country an "incredibly unique and valuable" market.
India is unique in a number of different ways. In India, (there is) such an embrace of technology in development as a whole. It is unbelievable the quality and diversity of development that is coming out of the country.
Woodman talked about Cortana, saying that high English literacy in the country allowed Microsoft to roll out the voice assistant with ease:
It does not feel like it goes through a filter. It is also one of the reasons why we have been able to do things like bring Cortana to India because we can do it in English. We could struggle with additional languages there but it is certainly our aspiration.
The incredible development partners, the strong base of partnerships there, the language helps enormously from a business perspective and the economic opportunity. These three things make India incredibly unique and valuable for us. It is not just people but people that understand the value that technology can actually bring to education, to empowerment.
Commenting on the prevalence of technology in countries like India, Brazil, and Israel, Woodman said that virtual reality and artificial intelligence are likely to "have a footprint in those places before other places because of the cultural acceptance of the technology."
While the country presents a lot of opportunities for the vendor, Woodman said that the diverse distribution network is challenging.
Microsoft's Cloud Platform General Manager Julia White called India an "amazing and robust market," saying that the robust startup culture was a main reason for setting up local data centers in the country:
That was one of the reasons we put data centres in India. We know that there is so much opportunity and so many startups and innovation going on in India that there is need and comfort around having data sovereignty and having information remain local in India.
White said that in addition to targeting startups, Microsoft will focus its attention on mainstream businesses looking to stay competitive:
The only way to do that and innovate quickly is to move to a cloud model. We go through a lot of evaluations of where we would put data centers and where we invest locally and India is one of those countries because of its culture, the innovation coming from the country.