Ola’s decision to cut ties with Microsoft Azure for own Krutrim AI is an inflection movement

Ola’s decision to cut ties with Microsoft Azure for own Krutrim AI is an inflection movement

By Onkar Sharma

As a seasoned journalist with a deep understanding of the tech industry and having known Bhavish Aggarwal, the founder and CEO of Ola Group of Companies, I found his recent announcement regarding the company’s cloud services shift particularly intriguing.

In a candid revelation today, Aggarwal disclosed in a post about Ola’s decision to sever ties with its existing cloud service provider, Microsoft Azure, in favor of migrating its entire workload to the company’s proprietary AI firm, Krutrim.

This strategic move follows a recent incident involving Aggarwal’s post on “pronoun illness” being removed by LinkedIn, a job-search platform owned by Microsoft. Addressing the situation on X (formerly Twitter), Aggarwal elucidated, “Since LinkedIn is owned by Microsoft and Ola is a significant customer of Azure, we’ve decided to move our entire workload out of Azure to our own Krutrim cloud within the next week. It is a challenge as all developers know, but my team is so charged up about doing this.”

It has come to the fore that Ola’s departure from Microsoft Azure will leave a big dent in Microsoft’s India business. If the reports are to be believed, Ola, a flagship entity of ANI Technologies, has been one of Microsoft’s prominent clients since 2017, with its departure potentially translating into a loss exceeding Rs 100 crores in business for the tech giant.

The history between Ola and Microsoft dates back to 2017 when they announced a collaborative effort to develop a new connected vehicle platform for global car manufacturers. However, recent events have stirred the waters, notably Aggarwal’s commentary on gender pronouns on May 6, which sparked widespread debate. Expressing his views on X, Aggarwal’s critique of LinkedIn’s AI bot’s usage of gender pronouns led to his post’s removal by the platform, citing violations of the community guidelines.

On May 9, Aggarwal vocalized his dissatisfaction with LinkedIn, accusing the platform of imposing a political ideology on Indian users through its AI tool. Via X, he underscored the importance of fostering indigenous tech and AI solutions in India.

Notably, Ola recently unveiled a suite of novel software and cloud services under the Krutrim banner. Embracing its Sanskrit meaning, “artificial,” Krutrim aims to develop a comprehensive AI computing stack and will function as a distinct entity within the Ola Group, akin to Ola Electric and its cab business.

Krutrim’s latest offering, Krutrim Cloud, introduces AI cloud services designed to empower developers and enterprises with access to cutting-edge GPU resources for enhanced project acceleration and productivity. Aggarwal’s commitment to supporting developers transitioning from Azure is evident, as he announced a generous year-long offer of free cloud usage for those making the switch to Krutrim.

As a seasoned observer of the tech landscape, I find Ola’s pivot towards Krutrim both strategic and indicative of a broader shift towards self-reliance in India’s tech ecosystem. With Aggarwal at the helm, Ola appears poised to chart a new course in the realm of AI and cloud services, promising exciting developments in the days ahead. I believe that the move will have a significant impact on the cloud market, paving the way for other cloud providers. Right now the broader landscape is occupied by three American hyperscalers – AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform.



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