Microsoft Announces a $5 Billion Investment in IoT

Posted on April 4, 2018 by Paul Thurrott in Dev, Hardware, Windows 10 with 18 Comments

Microsoft Announces a $5 Billion Investment in IoT

Microsoft announced today that it will invest $5 billion in Internet of Things (IoT) research and innovation over the next four years.

“As our world becomes more connected, IoT and the intelligent edge are playing a critical role in advancing breakthroughs in areas like healthcare, transportation, agriculture, energy and more,” a Microsoft representative told me.

The timing here is interesting: As I noted yesterday in Windows, Diminished, Microsoft is signaling to the world that it is moving to an “intelligent cloud and intelligent edge” future in which the volume of devices on the edge will, in fact, be IoT devices. This coincides nicely with Microsoft’s pursuit of “the next wave” in the wake of its earlier defeat in mobile.

“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,” Microsoft Julia White explains. “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.”

What this looks like in concrete terms is a bit vague. Microsoft cites companies like Steelcase, Kohler, Chevron, United Technologies and Johnson Controls as being among those using Microsoft’s IoT platform in embedded products. (And many readers will recognize Johnson Controls as the maker of that cool smart thermometer.) But this platform does represent another logic step, at least, for those developers who have adopted Microsoft technologies in the past. And, as a platform, IoT very much as the potential to be much bigger than that for PCs, tablets, video game consoles, or other traditional device types.

“Today’s announcement positions us to support customers as they develop new and increasingly sophisticated IoT solutions, which few could have imagined just a few years ago,” Ms. White concludes. “We can’t wait to see what comes from our customers and partners next, and we’ll have more to share throughout the year.”

I suspect we’ll learn more about Microsoft’s IoT push at Build, which is just about a month away.


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Comments (18)

18 responses to “Microsoft Announces a $5 Billion Investment in IoT”

  1. Nyghtfall

    I'm now imagining smart refrigerators returning a BSOD when someone tries ordering milk from the door panel.

  2. Jeffery Commaroto

    It seems like IoT has the most to gain in industry, not necessarily consumer. Manufacturing, agriculture, transportation, shipping and all business operations. Makes sense for Microsoft to go in that direction and then build out a slew of solutions to store, manage and analyze all of the massive quantities of data these things will generate using Azure. Fits in well with everything we've learned about their reorganization recently.

  3. Bats

    Uh....didn't they make this very similar announcement before, as in a couple of years ago? I know they did. What's this,like...a reboot of an past initiative?

    As for Johnson Controls and their thermostat.....I don't think there is a single person in this planet who is using it, other than (perhaps) some businesses, excluding Johnson Controls (themselves). I don't recall Paul Thurrot, Brad Samms, or Medhi ever writing that they installed that "cool smart thermostat" in any of their posts.

  4. CHanskat

    JC makes a "cool smart thermostat"

  5. Stooks

    So is Microsoft going to come out with its own version of Linux and give it away for free?

    I am going to take a wild guess here and say that 99.99999% of "IoT" devices run some form of Linux for two reasons. It is free and light.

    I bet my cable modem, Synology router, Ubiquiti AP's, cable box, Apple TV's, Smart TV's, PS4, Nest devices, smart garage door opener and our lone Echo all run some for of "NIX". The two gaming PC's and the Xbox don't.

  6. chrisrut

    Yeah, it's actually really exciting. Notice that at one time, the PC was king because it gave users access to, was the hub for, all manner of peripherals. But now, as intelligence moves to the edge, the devices themselves provide that service across platforms and form-factors. Lovely, lovely, lovely.

  7. nbplopes

    Embedded Windows CE all over again.

  8. MikeGalos

    Wow. It is amazing how the usual Microsoft bashers are quick to post on here with no understanding of how IoT works. They seem to think it has nothing to do with network infrastructure or even the cloud and that it's about standalone smart devices. Here's a hint for them. The I in IoT is Internet and it's about standardized communication to edge and server data and computation systems. You'd think they'd bother to read Paul's article where he talks about just that point.

  9. davidD

    LOL, you called it a smart thermometer again Paul :)