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The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

Koppulu's Quest

Harish Revanna
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
Harish Revanna
It was 1987 and Microsoft’s IPO closed a year ago, Bill Gates was already the richest man in the world and computer was becoming a household commodity. But yet a man from India, pursuing masters in computer science at the University of Louisiana, was incognizant of Gates. Forget Gates, it was in fact the first time he was even seeing a computer. If you thought this man is a commoner of kind and skipped him, then you perhaps missed the biggest guy in Microsoft India Development Center—Srini Koppolu.

Koppolu’s shift from mechanical engineering to computer science was paradigmatic when India had few computers in all and he had seen none.

“I was experimental since my childhood in Ongole,” he says talking about his passion for choosing a newer subject like computer science. Ongole in Andhra Pradesh is Koppolu’s springboard for success. It was there he had developed a passion for learning newer things like carpentry, tailoring and whatever came his way; and that passion never made him complacent. However, turned him into a rock solid performer at one of the world’s richest and most popular software firms. But that’s just not it. In Microsoft, it is said, passion for technology comes first to everything else.

And Koppolu was by now not just passionate about computers, but a man with an eye for innovation. “I joined Microsoft purely because of the innovative work happening there,” he reminisces thinking about the development of OS2 operating system in 1989.

After a ten year stint at Microsoft’s Redmond office, handling several projects like COM, OS2, Office 95-97, Koppolu was chosen to head India development center in 1998. India, then still a risky venture with no history in product development was a tough call for Koppolu. However, “it was the time to give back little to my country and I took up the offer,” he says while he believed India could have a fair share in developing world-class products. Being at the helm at the start of any company is not easy, but Koppolu was resolute in making India a strategic development center. “We had a goal and a vision in mind before we entered India. And now had to percolate that among our employees here,” he says.

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