Microsoft Announces $5b Investment in IoT

Microsoft has announced it will invest $5 billion in the Internet of Things over the next four years focused on security, creating development tools and intelligent services for IoT and the edge.

“Today, we’re planning to dedicate even more resources to research and innovation in IoT and what is ultimately evolving to be the new intelligent edge,” said Julia White, CVP at Microsoft Azure.

“With our IoT platform spanning cloud, OS and devices, we are uniquely positioned to simplify the IoT journey so any customer – regardless of size, technical expertise, budget, industry or other factors – can create trusted, connected solutions that improve business and customer experiences, as well as the daily lives of people all over the world. The investment we’re announcing today will ensure we continue to meet all our customers’ needs both now and in the future.”

While IoT has been a buzzword for years, we are just about seeing the adoption and realisation of the business models which might live up to the promise. We are never short of forecasts or predictions about how successful this segment will be, but here is another one. AT Kearney predicts IoT will lead to a $1.9 trillion productivity increase and $177 billion in reduced costs by 2020. With these numbers you can see why companies around the world, especially the ones where product margins are being squeezed, are excited about this evolution.

The focus for Microsoft here is about improving intelligence on the edge, another buzzword which faded from popularity in recent times but is surging again now. Maybe discussions about the edge were just too early; 5G and IoT are perhaps the catalysts to make the edge a relevant discussion once again. 2018 might be another year of false dawns when it comes to the investment boom, but there can’t be many of them left; companies will start spending soon.

The more activity which can be managed on the edge of the network, the more attractive and feasible IoT becomes. Microsoft has proven very effective at pumping a craze before it peaks to reap the benefits of being first-to-market, but this only really since Nadella has taken over. Microsoft Azure is sitting very comfortably in the number two position in the IaaS space, and it would be far to assume IoT will consolidate the reformed technology-beast as a global super-power.


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