Ola CEO Bhavish Aggarwal shuns Microsoft, says India needs its own tech platforms

PTI, May 13, 2024, 5:33 PM IST

New Delhi: Rebuking Microsoft and its subsidiary LinkedIn, Ola CEO Bhavish Aggarwal in a post said India needs to establish its own tech platforms to shun the chances of being “culturally subsumed” and “governed” by western big tech monopolies.

Boycotting Microsoft, Aggarwal said Ola — an existing customer of Microsoft Azure — will no longer avail of its services, and will shift its entire workload to its homegrown Krutrim cloud in a week.

The backlash comes after LinkedIn removed the CEO’s post that called out LinkedIn’s AI for “imposing a political ideology on Indian users”.

He had shared a screenshot from a generative AI response that used “they/their” pronouns to describe Aggarwal.

Berating the “pronoun illness”, he had said he hopes the practise doesn’t reach India.

“…the pronouns issue I wrote about is a woke political ideology of entitlement which doesn’t belong in India. I wouldn’t have waded into this debate but clearly LinkedIn has presumed Indians need to have pronouns in our life, and that we can’t criticise it. They will bully us into agreeing with them or cancel us out,” he wrote later.

Aggarwal called out to the Indian developer community to build a DPI (digital public infrastructure) social media framework.

Lauding Indian DPIs like UPI, ONDC, and Aadhaar, he said the only community guidelines should be the Indian law.

“No corporate person should be able to decide what will be banned. Data should be owned by the creators instead of being owned by the corporates who make money using our data and then lecture us on ‘community guidelines’,” he said.

Aggarwal further wrote, “Since LinkedIn is owned by Microsoft and Ola is a big customer of Azure, we’ve decided to move our entire workload out of Azure to our own Krutrim cloud within the next week.” “I’m not against global tech companies. But as an Indian citizen, I feel concerned that my life will be governed by western Big Tech monopolies and we will be culturally subsumed as the above experience shows,” he said.

Taking a sarcastic dig, the CEO invited developers to leave Azure and join his team.

“Any other developer who wants to move out of Azure, we will offer a full year of free cloud usage. As long as you don’t go back to Azure after that! Mail us on [email protected]. Offer is perpetually open!,” he wrote.

He said India doesn’t need lectures from western companies on how to be inclusive. Our culture didn’t need pronouns to be inclusive for thousands of years, he added.

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