Microsoft delivers statement of intent with AWS hire

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Microsoft has appointed former AWS executive Puneet Chandok as corporate VP for India and South Asia as the company ramps up activity in the region. 

In a statement yesterday, Microsoft confirmed the appointment, revealing that Chandok will begin duties on 1 September and assume operational responsibilities from Anant Maheshwari. 

As part of his new role, Microsoft said Chandok will “oversee the integration of Microsoft’s businesses across South Asia, including Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka” to further boost the company’s presence in the region.

Chandok’s appointment will also enable Microsoft to continue “deepening its focus on key industries” alongside driving adoption and development of generative AI in the region. 

“We are delighted to announce that Puneet will be joining Microsoft India,” said Ahmed Mazhari, president of Microsoft Asia. 

“Puneet has a strong track record of building and growing technology businesses and leveraging technology to deliver impact and change. As we embrace an AI-led future, Puneet’s leadership will play a vital role in ensuring Microsoft’s ongoing success in South Asia.”

Capitalizing on market growth

Chandok’s appointment could mark a serious statement of intent for Microsoft in India and South Asia. 

Having formerly served as AWS president for India and South Asia, Chandok led the division during a period of expansion in the region, resigning abruptly around the same time that the hyperscaler announced an ambitious investment package in its India operations


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Microsoft has been vocal on its South Asia intentions in recent months, with CEO Satya Nadella stating last year that the company is “bullish” on expansion in the region.

“We’re very, very bullish about what’s happening in Asia,” Nadella, told CNBC in a November interview. Nadella went on to describe India as a “massive growth market” for the tech giant due to an accelerating demand for the development of cloud native applications in the country. 

At present, Microsoft boasts three cloud regions in India, compared to AWS and Google Cloud which each have two. Its current phase of expansion will see the establishment of three new data centers through a $1.96 billion investment in Hyderabad. 

Chandok certainly has big boots to fill in this new role, if Microsoft’s activity in recent years is anything to go by. Under Maheshwari’s seven-year leadership, the Asia division has performed well and expanded its footprint in the region. 

In 2021, the company embarked on an ambitious expansion of its operations in South Asia and the broader APAC region, announcing the addition of several new cloud regions across four markets in Asia, including Indonesia, Taiwan, and Malaysia. 

However, analysis from Synergy Research Group last year showed that while the tech giant has made significant inroads across Asia, the firm still sits behind AWS and Alibaba with regard to its total market share in the broader APAC region.  

Given Chandok’s previous role in AWS’ regional expansion and maintaining its positioning in the market, Microsoft could view the appointment as a means to capitalize on his experience to further boost its ambitions in this emerging space. 

Chandok’s leadership credentials and background in the region bode well for Microsoft’s potential long-term goals in bolstering its Asian presence. 

IDC research shows that the South Asian public cloud services market will grow by around 23% between 2022 and 2026 as the regional market continues to mature and grow. 

In an effort to pounce on this expected growth, all three hyperscalers have been expanding their footprint in the region. In addition to its India investment, AWS committed $6 billion to expanding its operations in Malaysia in March this year. 

Similarly, In August last year, Google Cloud unveiled plans to establish three new cloud regions in the market, with Malaysia and Thailand both earmarked as sites for expansion.  

But while competition between the three hyperscalers continues to rumble on, they’re also facing stiff competition from Chinese competitors. 

Earlier this year, Alibaba announced a significant reduction in its cloud costs in an attempt to lure customers away from the western big hitters. 

Analysis from the Wall Street Journal found that this price reduction strategy formed part of a broader attempt by Chinese firms to undercut competition, with some offering prices between 20” to 40% lower than their American counterparts. 

Ross Kelly
News and Analysis Editor

Ross Kelly is ITPro's News & Analysis Editor, responsible for leading the brand's news output and in-depth reporting on the latest stories from across the business technology landscape. Ross was previously a Staff Writer, during which time he developed a keen interest in cyber security, business leadership, and emerging technologies.

He graduated from Edinburgh Napier University in 2016 with a BA (Hons) in Journalism, and joined ITPro in 2022 after four years working in technology conference research.

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