The idea of one of the tech giants taking on telecommunications in a big way has always been an interesting 'what if' scenario, and occasionally some small piece of it happens. Yesterday was one of those days, as Microsoft announced a definitive agreement to buy Metaswitch Networks.
Metaswitch got its start with the softswitch back when VoIP was the technology that would change the world, and today specializes in cloud native communications software with a continued focus in and around the voice and UC side of data. Microsoft hopes those capabilities, along with those of recently acquired Affirmed Networks, their existing Skype infrastructure, and of course their Azure platform can be combined into the next big thing.
As the reality of 5G edges ever closer, operators are looking to virtualize just about anything that can be virtualized. That's the only way they see to scale the edge of the network successfully.
For a long while there was a divide between cloud communications and the rest of cloud computing, encompassing different talent pools and placing different expectations on infrastructure when it came to reliability, latency, and other characteristics. The gap between the two worlds has narrowed over time, and as this deal shows may no longer exist at all. Tech and telecom have always been intertwined, it's just that now it's getting harder to tell which is which.
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