Microsoft Buys Mobile BI Company, Expands Fujitsu IoT Partnership

Craig Galbraith**Editor’s Note: Please click here for a recap of the biggest channel-impacting mergers in Q1 2015.**

Microsoft partners hope that a new acquisition and a new product partnership forged by the software giant will open up opportunities in two areas that show a lot of promise in the channel.

The Redmond, Washington-based company announced this week that it has purchased Datazen, which provides mobile business intelligence and virtualization services. Datazen lets businesses create mobile dashboards from data in Excel and other database sources – some in the cloud. It also offers apps for Windows and Windows Phone, iOS and Android devices.

The Datazen buy is part of a pattern from Microsoft. The company reportedly is building a version of its Cortana interactive-voice response (IVR) system that’s compatible with Android and Apple devices. There’s also been talk about Office Lens, the app that turns a smartphone into a document scanner, soon being available for Android and iOS. Furthermore, Microsoft recently announced that its Office for iOS applications can integrate with a number of third-party storage applications, including Apple’s iCloud.

“These moves reflect the company’s larger plan to embrace ‘the mobile first, cloud world’ and are part of the company’s strategy to offer its productivity software on platforms other than Windows,” noted 451 Research analyst Raúl Castañón, commenting on a TechCrunch article. “The integration of Datazen technology will benefit Microsoft’s existing user base by giving them flexibility to use Power BI across different devices. This will strengthen Microsoft’s position in the enterprise and extend its dominance in the desktop environment into the mobile space. This should help Microsoft maintain Office as the top productivity application for the enterprise.”

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

All of Datazen’s products will remain available for now, but look for them to be integrated into Microsoft’s Power BI lineup. TechCrunch speculates that they could eventually be branded as Power BI for iOS or Android.

Toronto-based Datazen debuted its Certified Partner Program 11 months ago, promising to help its partners deliver a technology that enables “rapid deployment of powerful BI content while guaranteeing a premium user experience on any device and any form factor.” It launched with seven global partners – Avanade, Skyline Technologies, Lingmarco, Positive Outcomes, Velrada, Data Intelligence and BI Talent, and has since added Denmark’s Kapacity.

Meantime, Microsoft has expanded a partnership …

… with Fujitsu that includes more Internet-of-Things (IoT) products.

The two companies have been working together since 2013 to automate processes in an agricultural facility that grows vegetables for patients who require special diets. Now, they are putting together an IoT product stack that combines the Japanese company’s hardware running Windows 8.1 Pro, its Cloud A5 IoT services for Microsoft Azure and its M2M platform.

Fujitsu’s Eco-Management Dashboard, an IoT-M2M platform, pairs with Microsoft cloud services and Windows tablets. The goal is to help workers monitor production quality and equipment performance in manufacturing facilities.

Look for the companies to extend their IoT team-up to other verticals such as health care and transportation in the near future, says 451 Research’s Brian Partridge.

“The combined IoT offering of Fujitsu and Microsoft play well to their respective strengths and bring together several critical components in a rational package, Partridge noted, reacting to a TechRadar story. “Pre-integrated solutions designed to solve specific business problems have a higher chance for success than generic platforms at this point of the industrial IoT’s market maturity.”

Follow senior online managing editor Craig Galbraith on Twitter.

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