Microsoft acquires Metaswitch Networks as it sharpens its 5G focus

Published: 15 May 2020 - 7:02 a.m.

US software giant Microsoft has announced that it has reached a deal to acquire telecoms tech specialists Metaswitch Networks.

The deal is being interpreted as a sign of Microsoft’s desire to play a more prominent role in helping telcos rollout and scale up their fledgling 5G offerings.

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 specialised software required to run virtualised communication functions, applications and networks,” said Yousef Khalidi, corporate vice president, Azure Networking, Microsoft, in an online blog post.

Microsoft has been on something of an acquisition spree over the last twelve months, recently acquiring Affirmed Networks to boost its exposure to the telecoms sector.

The gargantuan $31 billion acquisition of Red Hat, who already has an extensive portfolio of telco clients, was a real signal of intent from the US giant.

“Microsoft intends to leverage the talent and technology of these two organisations, extending the Azure platform to both deploy and grow these capabilities at scale in a way that is secure, efficient and creates a sustainable ecosystem,” he added.

“As the industry moves to 5G, operators will have opportunities to advance the virtualisation of their core networks and move forward on a path to an increasingly cloud-native future. Microsoft will continue to meet customers where they are, working together with the industry as operators and network equipment providers evolve their own operations.”

The current Covid19 Coronavirus pandemic will necessitate far closer collaboration between telcos, software developers and their digital enterprise customers, if all three hope to make a return on their sizable 5G investments.

Public, private and hybrid cloud offerings, powered by next generation telecommunications networks will help enterprises around the world to fast track their digitalisation programmes and will allow telcos and software developers to own a bigger slice of the managed services market. The digitalisation is a win-win for telcos, software developers and their enterprise customers, across the board.

With the multi billion dollar investments that telcos have made in their next generation network infrastructure, they were already looking to make as fast a return on their investment as possible. With the possibility of challenging market conditions looming large for the foreseeable future, as a result of the economic slowdown bought about by the global Covid19 pandemic, partnerships and closer working relationships with industry players become all the more important.

“We have a long history of working with operators as they increasingly embrace software-based solutions and continue to support the advancement of cloud-based networking while helping create new partnership opportunities for existing network equipment providers. Our intention over time is to create modern alternatives to network infrastructure, enabling operators to deliver existing and value-added services – with greater cost efficiency and lower capital investment than they’ve faced in the past,” Khalidi concluded.

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