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Microsoft Beats AWS, Google Cloud With Middle East Cloud Regions

'The opening of the new cloud regions in Abu Dhabi and Dubai marks the first time Microsoft will deliver cloud services directly from data center locations in UAE and expands upon Microsoft’s existing investments in the Gulf and the wider Middle East region,' says Tom Keane, Microsoft Azure’s corporate vice president of Azure global.

Microsoft became the first of the top three U.S. cloud providers to deliver cloud services from data centers in the Middle East this week with its launch of cloud regions in United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Both Microsoft Azure and Microsoft Office 365 are now generally available from the new regions, which will serve the Middle East and Africa, and Dynamics 365 and Power Platform are expected to be available by the end of the year.

“The opening of the new cloud regions in Abu Dhabi and Dubai marks the first time Microsoft will deliver cloud services directly from data center locations in UAE and expands upon Microsoft’s existing investments in the Gulf and the wider Middle East region,” Tom Keane, Microsoft Azure’s corporate vice president of Azure global, said in a blog post.

Microsoft was the first cloud service provider in UAE to achieve the Dubai Electronic Security Center certification for its cloud services, enabling Dubai government and semi-government entities to use the new data center regions, according to the company.

“We anticipate the cloud services delivered from UAE to have a positive impact on job creation, entrepreneurship and economic growth across the region,” Keane said, citing an International Data Corp. prediction that cloud services could contribute more than 500,000 jobs in the Middle East, including 55,000-plus new jobs in UAE through 2022.

Seventy percent of organizations in the Middle East are planning to move their IT infrastructure to the cloud in the coming year, according to a Microsoft study released in January. Data residency in the UAE will help enable government organizations and enterprises to comply with in-country regulations, Microsoft said.

“An increasing number of studies suggest that the Fourth Industrial Revolution will be a net creator of jobs,” Samer Abu-Ltaif, president of Microsoft Middle East and Africa, said in a statement. “We are working closely with governments in the region to ensure both businesses and individuals are appropriately skilled to take advantage of these opportunities, and we are aligning a number of these initiatives to our new data centers in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.”

Microsoft has been working to close the cloud services skills gap among information technology (IT) workers in the Middle East with Cloud Society, a program focused on building upon Microsoft Learn that has trained more than 150,000 IT professionals in the Middle East and Africa.

Rival Amazon Web Services, meanwhile, is developing a data center in Bahrain.

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