Why Microsoft is pushing for interoperability with its competitors
The plethora of devices and platforms used within a single organization today is driving interoperability measures. Microsoft and Jamf, the producer of Apple's device management software, announced a partnership in September to bring Azure AD authentication to Mac devices. The endpoint identity management solution will ensure device compliance as well as data access for trusted users, according to the announcement.
Access controls have been a hot topic of late thanks to data breaches, but security is not the only focus of Microsoft's recent efforts. Google and Microsoft eased mobile and web compatibility between Google Calendar and Microsoft Exchange, including Office 365, according to a July G Suite Updates announcement.
- Microsoft has pushed for reconcilability beyond immediate user interfaces. The company launched Open Neural Network Exchange with Facebook to offer developers AI framework interoperability, according to a Facebook announcement in September.
The modern tech environment is incredibly heterogeneous. For example, the vast majority of mobile activities, 82%, are performed on iOS while three-quarters of desktop activities take place on Windows, according to Egnyte. And more than half of enterprises use multiple cloud IaaS providers, with the two most popular combinations being AWS-Azure and AWS-OpenStack.
These statistics demonstrate two key facts about interoperability: First, it is necessary for enterprise operations because businesses and workers operate across multiple infrastructures for different needs. Second, Microsoft, as one of the top players in the operating system and cloud market, has especially vested interests in interoperability.
Many demands for reconcilability come from the rise of the Internet of Things and BYOD practices. With more points of contact per user across different systems, vendors and providers have to coordinate a lot of functionality in different environments.
While Microsoft is not the only business working on interoperability, the company's dominance across enterprise markets requires it in many forms. This year has seen plenty more collaborations between Microsoft and other tech titans.
Cortona became friends with Alexa in August, allowing users of each platform to access functions on the other. For Microsoft, this opened up use of Office 365 features through Echo devices.
Having cut loose its failing smartphone department, Microsoft may actually benefit in its interoperability efforts without a strong presence in the mobile market. Apple and Google, the two kings of the mobile ecosystem, are highly unlikely to work on interoperability between devices because of direct competition, whereas the Microsoft-AWS intelligent assistant collaboration helps both parties' service offerings, as TechCrunch noted.
As a software and service provider with its fingers in most tech markets, Microsoft has more reign to develop collaboration with device-centric tech giants like Apple and Google without a sacrifice to its own profitability. It stands as one of the best-poised companies to facilitate user access and ease across foreign platforms and infrastructures.
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