Ola's Bhavish Aggarwal Announces Break from Microsoft Azure, Fights LinkedIn's Pronoun Policies

Aggarwal further added that other developers who want to move out of Azure will be offered a full year of free cloud usage by the platform.
Ola CEO Bhavish Aggarwal
Ola CEO Bhavish Aggarwal

On May 11, Bhavish Aggarwal, the co-founder and CEO of Ola Cabs, said that the company is severing its relationship with Microsoft Azure, its current cloud service provider. Aggarwal added that they are shifting all their workload to their in-house artificial intelligence company, Krutrim. 

This comes after a post by Aggarwal, where he referred to the usage of the pronoun 'they' as illness, was removed by LinkedIn, a subsidiary of Microsoft. While using LinkedIn's AI bot feature, Aggarwal saw the bot referring to him with the pronouns 'they' and 'them'. Aggarwal shared the post, saying, "Screenshot is from LinkedIn's AI bot. This “pronouns illness” is being perpetuated in India by MNCs without us Indians even realizing it." 

Taking to X (now Twitter), Agarwal 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. It is a challenge, as all developers know, but my team is so charged up about doing this.” 

Aggarwal further added that other developers who want to move out of Azure will be offered a full year of free cloud usage by the platform. “As long as you don’t go back to Azure after that!” he added. 

This announcement was made by Aggarwal just after his artificial intelligence startup, Krutrim AI, made its cloud infrastructure and cloud services available to businesses. On its AI computing platform, Krutrim Cloud will provide GPU-as-a-service, enabling businesses and developers to train and optimize their models. 

Breaking the LinkedIn Monopoly 

Ola has been in partnership with Microsoft since 2017. The two connected that year to build a “new connected vehicle platform for the future.” As part of the partnership, “Ola announced that Microsoft will be a preferred cloud provider and will use Microsoft Azure to power Ola Play, the company’s existing connected car platform.” 

However, now Aggarwal feels that the monopoly of LinkedIn must be broken. While that’s not something that can happen overnight, the CEO said that he is making a commitment to work with the Indian developer community to build a DPI social media framework. 

“DPIs like UPI, ONDC, Aadhaar, etc. are a uniquely Indian idea and are even more needed in the world of social media. The only “community guidelines” should be the Indian law,” wrote Aggarwal in his post. 

While mentioning that India doesn’t need lectures on pronouns from Big Techs, Aggarwal said, “And regarding gender inclusivity, we don’t need lectures from western companies on how to be inclusive. Our culture didn’t need pronouns to be inclusive for thousands of years. Aggarwal’s post has started a debate about the usage of pronouns in India, and the hashtag #BoycottLinkedIn has been trending on X. 

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