Microsoft announced on Wednesday that it will invest $5 billion into Internet of Things initiatives over the next four years — a plan that is expected to benefit partners.
In a blog post, the Redmond, Wash.-based company said some of its investment will support growing Microsoft's partner ecosystem. The company is also ramping up research and development, with a focus on IoT security, as well as new development tools and intelligent services for IoT and edge computing.
"Customers and partners can expect new products and services, offerings, resources and programs," wrote Julia White, corporate vice president of Microsoft Azure.
Microsoft said the company has seen "great traction" with customers and partners who have been using its current IoT solutions, which include versions of Windows 10 for embedded computing, its Azure IoT Central software-as-a-service offering and Stream Analytics.
Scott Udell, vice president of IoT solutions at Boston-based Cloud Technology Partners, an HPE company and Microsoft partner, told CRN that Microsoft has an advantage in IoT because of its history of running software in data centers, edge computing environments and embedded devices.
"As IoT devices get smarter, those that actually know how to build rich development in applications and platforms in small form factors will have an advantage," he said.
On an anecdotal level, Udell said, "Microsoft loves to invest in partners building [intellectual property], more repeatable solutions, and I can tell you that is absolutely going to happen now."
Brad Johnson, director of data science at New Signature, a Microsoft partner based in Washington, D.C., told CRN that there's a lot of potential in realizing the hype that has surrounded IoT in the past 10 or so years.
"We're seeing that IoT solutions have the opportunity to grow up and not just be a means of collecting data but an essential component of how businesses function," he said.
Microsoft did not provide more details on its plan to expand its partner ecosystem by press time.