Well, Microsoft invested in Flipkart and in turn, Flipkart had to switch to Azure.
Microsoft plans to do the same with Ola. News report suggests that Microsoft will invest $100mn in Ola and in turn, Ola will have to switch to Azure.
“The talks with Ola are in very early stages. More than the money, it is more about Nadella’s vision of partnering with more and more large technology companies in India and establish Azure as service of preference. Microsoft is likely to invest in Ola but a term sheet is yet to be issued,” (via)
This comes 2 years after Microsoft invested $137mn in Uber !
Microsoft : Brilliant Strategy Playbook
Leaving aside the merits of Azure, Microsoft is surely winning Cloud War.
Microsoft is clocking close to $20Bn in enterprise-cloud revenue in its new fiscal year.
What's particularly striking about Microsoft's rapid ascension in the enterprise cloud—its annualized cloud revenue run rate is now $18.9 billion—is that it's occurring even as its closest competitors, Amazon and Salesforce, are themselves performing brilliantly.
The difference is that the brilliance of both Salesforce and Amazon (tie for #2 in the Cloud Wars Top 10 rankings) is isolated within only one or two of the cloud's three layers—SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS—whereas #1 Microsoft's cloud services and capabilities are finding booming customer acceptance across all three layers. (read this interesting analysis).
For Microsoft, winning India is an important game and instead of bottom-up sales structure, the company is grabbing the top customers and moving them away from AWS.
Which is also why the Microsoft accelerator program too moved away from early stage to mid-stage startups - i.e. a more integrated approach.
Is this the right approach? Don't you 'earn' customers and not 'push' them to use your platform? Well, for Microsoft the approach is working and the revenue number is a big indicator.