The last couple of years has seen Microsoft and Azure increasing their involvement in telecoms infrastructure and software while building partnerships with telcos around the world. This march into telecoms stepped up a level with Microsoft’s acquisition in 2020 of two independent virtual network function (VNF) vendors with a strong presence in the mobile core, among other things: Affirmed Networks and Metaswitch. Microsoft was not previously known for its strength in telco network software, and particularly the mobile domain – prompting the question: what exactly was it doing in telecoms?
The graphic below illustrates some of the key milestones in Microsoft’s partnerships and acquisitions from 2018 to 2020 that contributed to the development of a multi-faceted offer to telcos on Microsoft’s part, involving services and partnership options ranging from cloud delivery of telco network functions to supporting the delivery, and even co-developing, compute-driven services from the telco edge.
Microsoft’s move on telecoms
These milestones are discussed analysed in greater depth in our report Microsoft, Affirmed and Metaswitch: What does it mean for telecoms?