US software giant Microsoft has made one its most aggressive moves into the telecoms sector with the acquisition of virtualization specialist Affirmed Networks.

Affirmed is all about virtualized mobile network solutions and Microsoft seems to have decided it’s time it got more involved in that sort of things too. It’s already a datacentre and cloud giant, of course, so as telecoms increasingly moves in that direction it make perfect strategic sense for Microsoft to do so too.

“At Microsoft, we intend to empower the telecommunications industry as it continues its move to 5G and support both network equipment manufacturers and operators in their efforts to find solutions that are faster, easier and cost effective,” blogged Yousef Khalidi Corporate Vice President of Azure Networking at Microsoft.

“Today, I am pleased to announce that we have signed a definitive agreement to acquire Affirmed Networks. Affirmed Networks’ fully virtualized, cloud-native mobile network solutions enable operators to simplify network operations, reduce costs and rapidly create and launch new revenue-generating services.

“This acquisition will allow us to evolve our work with the telecommunications industry, building on our secure and trusted cloud platform for operators. With Affirmed Networks, we will be able to offer new and innovative solutions tailored to the unique needs of operators, including managing their network workloads in the cloud.”

We don’t know what Microsoft paid because Affirmed is private, but it will be in the hundreds of millions. If traditional telecoms vendors aren’t alarmed by this acquisition then they should be. It seems like a classic example of the IT sector taking advantage of the new opportunities presented by NFV and virtualization in general and if Microsoft starts sniffing around things like OpenRAN then outright panic would seem appropriate.


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