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Technology

Microsoft taking on rivals with software platforms

Microsoft headquarters in Seattle, Washington.
Microsoft headquarters in Seattle, Washington. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

In early June, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella confirmed their acquisition of GitHub, a service that considers itself the world's leading software development platform, for a whopping $ 7.5 billion (Sh750 billion) in stock.

In this day and age, any software project that is following best practice will be built out using Git, simply defined as ‘‘a version control system for tracking changes in computer files and co-ordinating work on those files among multiple people.’’

GitHub provides access control and collaboration features to over 28 million users across 57 million public and private repositories.

On the infrastructure front Microsoft’s Azure continues to wage war with Google Cloud Platform, Amazon Web Services, IBM Cloud (formerly BlueMix) with Alibaba Cloud also staking a claim to the market.

Infrastructure is getting commoditised with the leading value propositions such as scalability, flexible billing, affordable pricing, free tiers and generally low total cost of ownership being common to all.

The GitHub investment is therefore a very strategic move by Microsoft who now have a seat at the table that drives platform and technology adoption trends globally.

More often than not, developers, whether independents or those working as a team, determine the stack that will be used to build out solutions.

Up and above the software and infrastructure play, there are two programmes at Microsoft that empower makers and creators.

The first, MySkills4Afrika allows Microsoft employees to volunteer time and expertise through immersive and hands-on masterclasses delivered in person in two week bursts and also virtually covering both the technical and business side of things covering the entire breadth of business types —startups, SMEs, enterprises, government and non-profits.

The second, their IoT and AI Insider Lab, has Microsoft provide guidance, support and help accelerate development of hardware and machine learning projects covering hardware design, prototype manufacturing, systems architecture, cloud connectivity and more.

Machine learning and artificial intelligence experts help contextualise and build models that leverage big data which is an output of most sensor enabled hardware projects.

The physical labs are located in Redmond US, Shenzhen China, and Munich Germany but locally, pop-up labs are held seasonally to fast-track those who are invested in the space and have shown interest in the programme.

The consumption of digital products and services is changing and for most consumers of personal computing, this side of Microsoft is one that remains unknown.

It is great to see such commitment to digital transformation of industries with direct support and assistance to technology entrepreneurs.

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