Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella today hailed startups as the "lifeblood of any economy", hailing the wide-spread availability of cloud infrastructure and the proliferation of mobile devices as key to their success.
Speaking in London at Microsoft’s Future Decoded event, the recently-appointed CEO who took over from Steve Ballmer, said: “Startups are the life blood of any economy. Perhaps more so today than in the past because the barriers to entry have significantly come down."
“Availability of cloud infrastructure and the ubiquity of computing infrastructure in terms of devices have made it possible for anyone to be able to dream of having a global impact.”
Microsoft is working with UK startups through the Microsoft Ventures accelerator programme, which is based in Whitechapel, East London.
Commenting on the accelerator, Nadella said: “It’s doing very very well. It’s like a coaching camp for new budding entrepreneurs and we are onto the second class now and they’ve [the first cohort of 10 startups] gone on to get their funding and thrive.”
The success of startups coming out of the Microsoft Ventures accelerator “speaks to the vibrancy of the UK economy”, according to Nadella.
“It’s the main reason why we ourselves have some of best engineering teams here,” he said. “We do all our Skype development here, we have games studios here. Microsoft Cambridge is a very important part of Microsoft Research. You can see the human capital here now being expressed in the form of startups.”
The CEO was on stage for less than 15 minutes in what was his first appearance in the UK since being appointed to the position in February this year.
But several members of the audience were less-than-impressed by what Nadella had to say, with one Tweeting that he lacked the passion, energy and personality of his predecessor and another Tweeting he talked about "not very much" during his slot.
Nadella’s comments were made shortly after journalist Jeremy Paxman and rockstar turned political activist Bob Geldof delivered speeches to the Future Decoded audience that included jibes at technology, perhaps to Microsoft's surprise.
Paxman, for example, played an Apple advert in his presentation which he described as a "load of bollocks", while Geldof said: "What do you mean you'll be able to manufacture items at home with a 3D machine? Sounds like utter bollocks to me but presumably it will come true one day."