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How Chandrababu Naidu convinced Bill Gates for Microsoft's Hyderabad office

After becoming the CM of the undivided Andhra Pradesh in 1995, Chandrababu Naidu met Bill Gates, resulting in the establishment of Microsoft India Development Centre in Hyderabad

Chandrababu Naidu,Bill Gates,Microsoft

TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu receives Bill Gates for AP Ag Tech Summit 2017 at Vikshakhapatnam airport in November that year. (Photo: X/@ncbn)

Nisha Anand New Delhi

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Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister-designate Chandrababu Naidu is set to be sworn into the office on Wednesday. Naidu will return to office five years after his Telugu Desam Party (TDP) was defeated by the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) in the 2019 Assembly elections.

Naidu’s fortunes have reversed in a matter of months as the TDP chief faced a major setback in September 2023 when the ruling YSRCP arrested him in an alleged corruption case. Consequently, Naidu spent nearly two months in jail before being granted bail by the high court.

Chandrababu Naidu’s first stint as Andhra CM

Naidu first became the CM of the undivided Andhra in 1995, ousting his father-in-law NT Rama Rao in a midnight coup. He is one of the rare politicians with a pro-industry, pro-technology image in the public eye due to his contribution in making Hyderabad a technology hub.

One of the popular incidents that cement this claim, is Naidu’s meeting with Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, which paved for the tech giant’s footprint in India’s Hyderabad.

Chandrababu Naidu’s meet with Bill Gates

During the AP AgTech Summit in 2017, Naidu recalled the incident when he managed to get an appointment with Gates in the late 1990s.

“Gates was in New Delhi on some work. I contacted the officials of the United States for an appointment. They told me that he was very busy, and that if I was keen I could attend a cocktail party in the evening,” he said.

“I made a presentation through a laptop and I was the first Indian politician to do so,” he claimed, recalling how he convinced Gates to set up Microsoft’s development centre in Hyderabad.

Naidu noted that his appointment with Gates was supposed to last 10 minutes but the former CEO of Microsoft ended up spending 40 minutes with him. Naidu said that Gates told him in that meeting that whenever Microsoft wished to open their centre outside of the US, they would consider Naidu’s request.

“Not only Microsoft opened its development centre in Hyderabad but Satya Nadella who is from our place became Microsoft CEO,” the TDP chief boasted.

Gates recalls what happened in meeting with Naidu

During the valedictory of that summit, Gates also shared details from their two-decade old meeting. “I was told that there is someone who believes in digital technology even more than you do. It was hard to believe but when we met, he had his digital equipment – computer – and he had the vision to make the government better by using advanced tools,” said Gates.

The Microsoft India Development Centre was set up in Hyderabad in 1998.

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First Published: Jun 11 2024 | 3:14 PM IST

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