Just a few weeks after the announcement of a contract to acquire 5G specialist Affirmed Networks, Microsoft is making another acquisition to strengthen its cloud-based telecommunications offering. The company acquires Metaswitch Networks, a UK-based provider of cloud-based communications products used by network operators and network providers (customers include BT in the UK, Sprint and the RINA virtual network consortium.
The terms of the contract were not announced in today’s announcement. Metaswitch’s investors included PE companies Northgate and WRV, Francisco Partners and Sequoia. However, it is unclear how much they raised and how they were last rated. (The company was founded in 1
The deal speaks for a growing focus of technology companies using cloud architectures and introducing new network technologies – especially 5G – to take a bigger role in the development of service providers for both network operators and those who want to build carrier-like services (potential Bypassing telecommunications companies in this process) by offering virtualized products that are provided from the cloud.
It is only a day after Rakuten, the Japanese giant for e-commerce and streaming services, has announced that it will take over Innoeye, another specialist in cloud-based communication services. Others like Amazon have also built their AWS offerings for the same market.
Microsoft describes the Metaswitch portfolio of cloud-native services, which include 5G data, voice and unified communications (contact) Center) Products – as a “complement” to Affirmed.
“Microsoft intends to leverage the talent and technology of these two organizations and expand the Azure platform to safely and efficiently deploy and expand these features on a larger scale, and to create a sustainable ecosystem,” the company said.
The migration to 5G offers companies that provide services for network operators an opportunity. The latter have long had expensive, outdated devices and now have the potential to replace some or all of them with software-based services that are provided through the cloud and are easier to update and adapt to market demand. At least that’s hope. The reality could be that many airlines are sweating out their assets and upgrading them in small increments as operating expenses are still a huge investment and cost.
Microsoft is all too aware of this reality and the prospect of appearing as a threat rather than a savior.
“We will continue to support hybrid and multi-cloud models to create a more diverse telecommunications ecosystem and drive faster innovations, a wider range of unique offerings, and greater differentiation opportunities,” he says. “We will continue to work with existing suppliers, emerging innovators, and network equipment partners to share roadmaps and explore expanded collaboration opportunities, including in the areas of radio access networks (RAN), next generation core, virtualized services, orchestration, and operations modernization of support Systems / Business Support Systems (OSS / BSS). An interoperable future has never been more important to ensure the success of customers and partners. “
In fact, Microsoft had been offering network operator services for years and sold them through IT providers. However, these recent acquisitions represent a growing focus on what role they can play in this corporate industry in the coming years.