Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella issues statement, after calling CAA “It’s just bad”

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Mumbai: Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has issued a fresh statement after he had called India’s Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) as “It’s just bad” during an interview BuzzFeed News on Monday.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s statement

“Every country will and should define its borders, protect national security and set immigration policy accordingly. And in democracies, that is something that the people and their governments will debate and define within those bounds.”

“I’m shaped by my Indian heritage, growing up in a multicultural India and my immigrant experience in the United States. My hope is for an India where an immigrant can aspire to found a prosperous startup or lead a multinational corporation benefiting Indian society and the economy at large,” Nadella said in a statement issued on Tuesday.

The CEO’s issued statement sounds more subtle and soft tone down compared to what he had said to Ben Smith, BuzzFeed News Editor-in-Chief during an interview at the company’s event in Manhattan.

After BuzzFeed News Editor-in-Chief Smith tweeted CEO Nadella’s quote, it turned into a political controversy and was forced to issue a fresh statement.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s strong stand

“I think what is happening is sad. … It’s just bad,” Nadella had said about India’s Citizenship (Amendment) Act.

The act allows migrants who had entered India by 31 December 2014, and had suffered “religious persecution or fear of religious persecution” in their country of origin were made eligible for citizenship.

The Hyderabad born, US based CEO even shared his story in context to immigration during the media interview.

“And even a story like mine being possible in a country like this — I think, if anything, I would love to see a Bangladeshi immigrant who comes to India and creates the next unicorn in India or becomes the CEO of Infosys. That should be the aspiration. If I had to sort of mirror what happened to me in the US, I hope that’s what happens in India,” Nadella had said.

So far, Indian government officials haven’t responded or issued any statement on Microsoft CEO’s remarks against CAA.

A highly vocal CEO

Its for the first time that a global software and tech company’s CEO which has a huge presence in India has dared to criticized country’s citizen act. However, for Nadella, it’s not for the first time he has openly spoken against immigration policy and laws.

Critic of Trump’s immigration policy

When the US administration under the President, Donald Trump implemented a new stricter immigration policy against illegal entry at the borders, Nadella had called the policy “abhorrent.”

“This new policy implemented on border is simply cruel and abusive and we are standing for change,” Nadella had said.

In June 2018, Nadella wrote a memo to the company’s employees because Microsoft faced criticism for working with Immigrations and Customers Enforcement (ICE) under the administration of US President Donald Trump with his “zero-tolerance” policy.

“Like many of you, I am appalled at the abhorrent policy of separating immigrant children from their families at the southern border of the U.S . As both a parent and an immigrant, this issues touches me personally,” Nadella wrote in the memo.

Under President Trump’s “zero tolerance’ policy, the US Department of Justice has the power to criminally prosecute all suspected illegal border-crossers for illegal entry, even those who crossed for the first time. Families undergo separations when parents or adult relatives were charged with unlawful entry.

The policy has been highly criticized for separation of children from their parents and putting them in detention camps for illegal entry in the US.

Business cost of criticism

Microsoft CEO Nadella’s a strong character and individual, expressing his mind on issues that are concerning and important to people, both in India and the US. But every action has some reaction.

Will CEO Nadella’s remarks on CAA affect Microsoft’s future business prospects in India, in long or short term? Particularly, in the Indian government sector is hard to be guessed by at the moment.

Or Will CEO Nadella become a contentious issue during the upcoming US President’s official visit to India and trade talk between the two nations? That remains to be seen.

Being vocal, particularly in the corporate and business world has its own consequences and drawbacks. And these possibilities can’t be rule out given.

Staying out of politics

When Microsoft’s won a major contract to build a defense cloud for the Pentagon worth $10 billion last November, the company surprised its competitors Amazon and Oracle.

For Microsoft, this was a major deal in government sector, although Nadella has been a big critic of Trump administration and policies. And Nadella had credited his company for not involving in politics and focusing on technology and customer’s need.

“Microsoft staying out of politics and staying focused on what the customer’s needs are,” Nadella had said.

So here is a very simple and straight question for CEO Nadella.

Can his voicing concerns against President Trump’s immigration policy or Modi government’s CAA in India – be termed as “Staying out of Politics?” YES or NO.

If YES is the answer, then certainly Nadella has been contradicting his own stand and what he advocates for Microsoft. And that is — “Staying out of Politics” and yet speaking about it.

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