“It’s just the tip of the iceberg,” according to Fazil Balkaya, Founder & Principal Analyst, Balkaya Consulting. I recently had a chat with Balkaya regarding Microsoft’s Metaswitch Networks acquisition, which he forecasts as one of many purchases the collaboration giant will make to boost its UCaaS capabilities.
He wanted to set the record straight about Microsoft’s recent purchase, telling UC Today its a service provider acquisition, and that Microsoft has “Absolutely no interest in making in acquisitions to sell more software to service providers.” Instead, he added, Microsoft’s hoping to bolster its mobile solutions partnerships with service providers. In this sense, the move is a strategic one set to increase the value proposition of Microsoft’s mobile functionalities that enable remote working and management.
Metaswitch’s portfolio is complementary to Microsoft’s, one with high-performance, cloud-native communications software set to help the collaboration company expand its range of telecommunications offerings that suit the growing need for strong mobile work solutions. This is, according to Balkaya. He added, Microsoft will leverage the talent and technology of the two organizations to expand ‘Azure’ to both deploy and grow these capabilities at scale with heightened security, efficiency, and ecosystem sustainably. Corporate Vice President, Azure Networking, Microsoft, Yousef Khalidi, wrote in a blog post about what the move means for service providers around the world:
“The convergence of cloud and communication networks presents a unique opportunity for Microsoft to serve operators globally via continued investment in Azure, adding additional depth to our hyperscale cloud infrastructure with the specialized software required to run virtualized communication functions, applications, and networks.”
Balkaya noted, Metaswitch’s MaX offering is “Interesting and well-suited for Microsoft’s needs,” but contends, it’s only a fraction of the story. The picture today remains incomplete, but what he does foresee, a series of “Well-planned acquisitions Microsoft will make to improve its mobile features. Microsoft plans to go further into telecoms IT spending by connecting directly with Azure via the Edge.”
Metaswitch’s mobile-first proposition extends number masking, multiple personas, scalability, and a flexible pricing structure associated with the cloud. In terms of onboarding, it takes just a few seconds through the platform, and there are collaboration features like group communications, and others, many of which could very well enhance Microsoft’s enterprise team collaboration app Microsoft Teams. All this has implications for those who are less tech-savvy, but more business-oriented, according to Balkaya. “Since Microsoft’s investing in a future where enterprises build mobile networks, it has to be in strong competition with telecoms software providers by providing such products as a service (SaaS) from Azure,” he added.
By exploring the service provider business model, Microsoft will eventually find itself in a position to become a mobile operator, one that deals directly with enterprises. Reaching UCaaS greatness will take some time, however, and it could take a significant amount of time before any of Microsoft’s fruits come to fruition, Balkaya told me. Still, Microsoft needs to invest a lot in Azure and its mobile capabilities to turn its vision into reality.
In April, Microsoft confirmed it had plans to acquire ‘Affirmed Networks’ to enhance its 5G capabilities. With 5G infrastructure on the rise in cities across the globe, the trio should get along just fine. and Microsoft’s already gotten a head start, too. Already, the collaboration giant’s introduced micro-services architecture with some companies presently working with Azure. Balkaya said this should be a scary time for the competition.
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