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Microsoft sheds four key executives in company shake-up

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New York: Four top executives are leaving tech giant Microsoft, including former Clinton advisor Mark Penn and ex-director of Nokia Stephen Elop, in a leadership shuffle announced by the firm’s CEO Satya Nadella, Efe news agency reported.

The leadership changes constitute the biggest switch so far during Nadella’s tenure at the helm of Microsoft, which will be divided into three big departments — “Windows and devices,” to be headed by Terry Myerson, “Cloud and enterprise”, which will be overseen by Scott Guthrie, and “Applications and services”, with Qi Lu as its chief.

In an email to company employees on Wednesday to inform them of the changes in top personnel, Nadella said that the larger changes in the firm’s structure required Microsoft to examine its leadership and the result was that several veteran team leaders will be leaving the company.

According to Nadella, Penn, who worked on both Bill and Hillary Clinton’s election campaigns, had announced last September his intention to leave the company to form his own investment fund.

With regard to Elop, whose duties fell in the area that Myerson now occupies, the Microsoft chief said that they had come to a joint decision and he lamented the loss of leadership his departure meant for the company.

Joining Penn and Elop in their move out the door are Eric Rudder, who had been with the firm for more than 25 years, and Kirill Tatarinov, under whose direction the firm’s Dynamics business grew into a $2-billion operation.

After the announcement of the changes, shares of Microsoft -one of the 30 Dow Jones components – fell 0.2 percent on the Nasdaq exchange. (IANS)

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‘Humans Have Caused Pollution and Humans Can Fix It too’, Says UN Environment Head; Asserts Asia Must Lead Efforts for a Pollution-Free Earth

World Health Organization figures show Asia has 25 of the world's 30 most-polluted cities in terms of fine particles in the air that pose the greatest risks to human health

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Asia-Pacific
People wear protective masks during a polluted day in Shanghai (VOA)

Bangkok, September 9, 2017 : Asia-Pacific — home to more than half the world’s population and some of its fastest-growing economies — is a key battleground in the fight against pollution, one of the biggest threats to the planet and its people, the U.N. environment chief said.

An estimated 12 million people die prematurely each year because of unhealthy environments, 7 million of them due to air pollution alone, making pollution “the biggest killer of humanity,” Erik Solheim told the first Asia-Pacific Ministerial Summit on the Environment in Bangkok this week.

ALSO READ Air Pollution expected to Cause 60,000 Deaths in 2030 and 2,60,000 in 2100 Globally: Study

Humans have caused pollution and humans can fix it, said Solheim, executive director of UN Environment, in an interview with Reuters at the four-day summit.

“The struggle for a pollution-free planet will be won or lost in Asia — nowhere else,” said the former Norwegian minister for environment and international development.

The sheer size of Asia-Pacific, as well as its continued economic growth, put it at the heart of the challenge, he added.

The region’s development has been accompanied by worsening pollution of its air, water and soil. Its emissions of planet-warming carbon dioxide doubled between 1990 and 2012, and the use of resources such as minerals, metals and biomass has tripled, according to the United Nations.

Asia-Pacific
A man carries a sack of vegetables as he walks past a polluted canal littered with plastic bags and other garbage, in Mumbai. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool) (VOA)

World Health Organization figures also show Asia has 25 of the world’s 30 most-polluted cities in terms of fine particles in the air that pose the greatest risks to human health. The pollution comes largely from the combustion of fossil fuels, mostly for transport and electricity generation.

Solheim said Asia is also a major contributor of plastic polluting the world’s oceans — and solutions can be found in the region. He pointed to a huge beach cleanup campaign in Mumbai that inspired Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to overhaul the country’s waste management system.

“There’s enormous environmental opportunity,” Solheim said. “Asia has by and large strong governments, and they have the ability to fix problems.”

Coal no longer king?

Solheim said fighting pollution by moving toward renewable energy sources such as wind and solar would also benefit efforts to curb climate change, which scientists say is stoking more deadly heatwaves, floods and sea-level rise around the world.

But environmentalists worry that Asia’s demand for coal, the most polluting of the major fossil fuels, is likely to grow for years to come.

Figures from a forum organized by the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center in Singapore earlier this year show that some 273 gigawatts of coal power are still being built, although much more has been put on hold.

In July, analysts told Reuters that Japan, China and South Korea are bank-rolling coal-fired power plants in Indonesia despite their pledges to reduce planet-warming emissions under the Paris climate deal.

Asia-Pacific
Workers operate machines at a coal mine at Palaran district in Samarinda, Indonesia (VOA)

The landmark 2015 Paris Agreement seeks to limit the rise in average world temperatures to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times. Experts say curbing or ending the use of coal is required if this goal is to be reached.

Globally, many countries — including China — are shutting down or suspending plans for coal-fired power plants as costs for wind and solar power plummet.

Solheim is optimistic, noting that the International Energy Agency significantly raised its five-year growth forecast for renewables led by China, India, the United States and Mexico.

“There are very, very few people in the world who believe that the future is coal,” he said. “I think we will see the shift [to renewables] happening much faster than people tend to believe.”

ALSO READ Paris climate pact: The play of words

On U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to pull his nation out of the Paris Agreement, Solheim sees a silver lining.

“The surprising judgment of history may be that Donald Trump did a lot of service to this fight against climate change by withdrawing, because he galvanized the reaction of everyone else,” said Solheim.

“All the big, iconic companies of modern capitalism — Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon — they immediately said, ‘We will move into the green economy.'” (VOA)

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Indians have Contributed in Creating Several Jobs in US through Startups, Still Face Accusations in the Country: Study

India faces accusations of taking away jobs from American people but have they only snatched and not given them opportunities through startups

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Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google Inc.
Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google Inc. Wikimedia
  • Indians have contributed to growth of iconic business firms like Sun Microsystems, Hotmail and some of them have turned into biggest entrepreneurs and job creators
  • There are many Indian-origin leaders who have become household names today like Indra Nooyi (Pepsi), Shantanu Narayen (Adobe), Satya Nadella (Microsoft), Sundar Pichai (Google)
  • Hotmail.com founder Sabeer Bhatia, the company was founded in the year 1996

New Delhi, August 21, 2017: Indians are facing accusations from Americans that they are snatching away American jobs, but it’s not the case.  There is an Indian- American venture capital firm called Inventus Capital Partners which is trying to throw some light on the contributions Indians have made in the growth of Silicon Valley.

Indians are stereotypically viewed as a source of cheap labor in US Technology Industry but they are much more than that. Case in point is over the last 10-20 years, Indians have contributed to the growth of iconic business firms like Sun Microsystems, Hotmail and some of them have turned into biggest entrepreneurs and job creators instead of being just job seekers.

As per a report from July, Director of Inventus Capital Partners- Manu Rekhi, the company operates from Bengaluru and San Mateo, California, he observed how Indians have left a mark in the American entrepreneurial space.

There are many Indian-origin leaders who have become household names today like Indra Nooyi (Pepsi), Shantanu Narayen (Adobe), Satya Nadella (Microsoft), Sundar Pichai (Google). But these success stories were due to decades of hard work.

Also Read: Facebook backs Delhi-based tutor enablement platform ‘XPrep’ as part of its global programme FBStart, designed to help early-stage Mobile Startups

In the early 1980’s, arrived in the US the first generation of Indian entrepreneurs. According to Quartz report, Manu Rekhi said,  “Among these legends  was Kanwal Rekhi (my partner) along with Vinod Khosla, Naren Gupta, Prabhu Goel, Suhas Patil, and many others, who went on to finding notable companies like Sun Microsystems (acquired  by Oracle), Excelan, and Cirrus Logic.”

When the early entrepreneurs moved to America global exposure was very limited and also their understanding of consumer behavior of the people in the US was also limited. That is the reason they founded engineering- heavy systems and networking companies instead of going for consumer facing ones.

Slowly, with time more Indian tried their hands at launching new ventures and also US doors opened for foreign students, thus Indian entrepreneurs turned their focus from enterprise to consumer- oriented companies. One prime example of this is Hotmail.com founder Sabeer Bhatia, the company was founded in the year 1996. Sabeer Bhatia is a BITS Pilani graduate, did masters from Stanford University and has worked for Apple before launching his maiden email service.

The 1990s was also the year in which the Indian-origin leaders were also mentors in the Silicon Valley.  Case in point is BV Jagadeesh who is a Serial Entrepreneur and Venture Capitalist. Jagdeesh helped to raise the seed money for Netscaler, a San Jose based company. He later went on to become its President and also CEO by the year 2000. Currently, Jagadeesh is a managing partner at KAAJ Ventures, it makes early stage investments in startups, and he is also an adjunct professor at Santa Clara University, takes classes on early-stage startups and valuation. Ram Shriram is a Venture Capitalist, a founding board member and is one of the first investors in Google. His stake in the company was $ 1.3 billion in the mid-2000, he also mentors budding startups.

Also Read: 4 Startups which changed the face of Food and Beverage Industry in India

Rekhi said that later companies of Indian entrepreneurs shifted towards technologies which were more advanced.For example, Jyoti Bansal started App Dynamics, a management and operations analytics firm, which was later acquired by Cisco for $3.7 billion on 22 March 2017. Dheeraj Pandey, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur alumni owns Nutanix, a cloud-computing software company. In 2016, it had a multi- billion dollar initial public offering. Manish Chandra who is the CEO, Poshmark, which is the social fashion marketplace. Chandra created a product which would be “unheard of 20 years ago,” Rekhi said.

For example, Jyoti Bansal started App Dynamics, a management and operations analytics firm, which was later acquired by Cisco for $3.7 billion on 22 March 2017. Dheeraj Pandey, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur alumni owns Nutanix, a cloud-computing software company. In 2016, it had a multi- billion-dollar initial public offering. Manish Chandra who is the CEO, Poshmark, which is the social fashion marketplace. Chandra created a product which would be “unheard of 20 years ago,” Rekhi said.

Indians are less than 1% in the total US population, but still by 2012 they founded 8% of all the American tech & engineering startups. The group has started one-third of the immigrant-founded startups in the US. The firms which they have founded also provide great acquisition opportunities and also made high-value public debuts, Rekhi said, mentions Quartz report.

The first Indian-American founder led company- Nasdaq IPO (Initial Public Offering) opened its doors in 1987 with Excelan going public, but the pickup in big-value exists came only in recent times.

In the last 5 years, the software and services sector, which has 17 companies, tops the list of IPOs owned by Indian founders and co-founders and has a combined market Capital of amount $26.2 billion. The second in the list were Pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, and life sciences in terms of the number of IPOs (six). But, the retail industry saw a much larger market Capital of as much as $6.67 billion, in comparison to Pharmaceuticals, it was $397 million. 10 of these 34 companies that make approximately 29% were acquired following their stock-market debut.

Also Read: Amazon Launchpad’ comes to India; will support Indian Startups

According to Quartz report, Rekhi said: “Even before the turn of the millennium, companies like IBM and Intel had been making acquisitions, but mostly of outsourcing services companies where you’re basically buying manpower.”

But between 2012 and 2017, more than 25 companies by Indian-origin entrepreneurs saw mergers and acquisitions worth- $500 million and more, Rekhi found.

Rekhi noted, “Topping that list is Western Digital’s acquisition of SanDisk, worth a whopping $19 billion, followed by several acquisitions from Cisco, HPE, and SAP.”

Today, 14 of the 261 unicorns are headed by Indian-origin founders (private companies valued at over $1 billion) in the US. These 14 startups, when taken together have a combined value of $35.17 billion and funding of $81.8 billion, with the IT industry taking the lead, according to Rekhi.


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Indian Companies Patanjali, Reliance Jio Among The Top 10 Influential Brands in India

Patanjali bagged the fourth position while and Mukesh Ambani’s controlled Reliance Jio has bagged the ninth position

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Patanjali
Bhai Sunder Panchal with Baba Ramde. Wikimedia

July 15, 2017: According to a study by the global research firm Ipsos, Yoga guru Baba Ramdev promoted Patanjali Ayurveda was featured among the top 10 most influential brand in India coupled with Samsung and new player Reliance Jio. Google tops the list followed by Microsoft and Facebook, ranked at number two and three respectively.

Patanjali bagged the fourth position while Mukesh Ambani’s controlled Reliance Jio has bagged the ninth position, as mentioned in the reports of the most influential brands by Ipsos. The entry of both the Indian firms is certainly grand as they did not appear in the previous editions of the study.

The Ipsos study evaluates over 100 brands across 21 countries and covered more than 1,000 Indians online to assess over 100 brands. The study also included 36,600 interviews.

The study included the biggest, most popular and highest spending brands.

Also Read: Patanjali targets will reach 1 Lakh Crore Production by 2020, says Yoga guru turned businessman Baba Ramdev 

 Ipsos Public Affairs and Loyalty Executive Director Parijat Chakraborty said, “The Most Influential Brands are larger than life. They enhance our lives, make it better. We connect with them emotionally and cannot imagine our lives without them — they are influential.”

State Bank of India (SBI) being the only financial institution that made the list, scaled up four ranks to take the fifth position.

E-commerce player Flipkart fell three steps below to take the tenth place whereas Amazon climbed several steps higher to take the sixth place, the study stated. Apart from that, Samsung was ranked 7th while Airtel took the 8th position in the list.

Interestingly, all brands that have featured in the list are those that consumer engages with on a daily basis, the study said as reported by PTI.

Brands like Snapdeal, Apple, Dettol, Cadbury, SONY, HDFC Bank, Maruti Suzuki, Good day and Amul bagged the place in the list from 11 to 20.

The brands were rated by the consumers on quality, experience and value. Other noteworthy factors include big marketing spend and consciously work towards increasing their brand equity.

-Prepared by Staff Writer at Newsgram.