Networking, IT management, Mergers and Acquisitions, Distributed Workforce, Content

Microsoft Acquires Affirmed Networks; Azure Cloud Gains 5G Virtualization Capabilities

Microsoft has acquired Affirmed Networks. The result: The Microsoft Azure Cloud will gain network functions virtualization (NFV) capabilities for mobile service providers & 5G wireless network services. Fin

This M&A deal 161 that ChannelE2E has covered so far in 2020, though the pace of deals has slowed a bit since the coronavirus pandemic emerged. See the complete M&A deal list here.

The deal could have upside for MSPs, telco partners and Azure partners that are seeking to move customers beyond traditional telecom hardware toward virtualized, network-centric  cloud services.

Ironically, the M&A deal surfaces just as Affirmed names Anand Krishnamurthy as president and CEO. He succeeded Hassan Ahmed, who is retiring but will remain chairman of Affirmed’s board of directors.

Microsoft Acquires Affirmed Networks: Business Focus

Operators deploy Affirmed’s NFV solutions to deliver 5G services including mobile broadband, IoT, carrier-grade Wi-Fi roaming, connected cars, and more.  More than 100 networks in 80 countries run the software. Key adopters include Orange International Carriers; the massive European service provider leverages Affirmed's technology to deliver WiFi roaming to mobile operators worldwide.

Affirmed's key partners include Microsoft rival VMware. A combination Affirmed-VMware solution, announced in June 2019, leverages VMware's vCloud NFV OpenStack Edition and Affirmed Networks suite of virtualized mobile core solutions, as of June 2019. ChannelE2E does not know the current status of that platform combination and business relationship.

Affirmed raised $38 million in funding in early 2019. Key investors include Centerview Capital Technology, Qualcomm Ventures, and Eastward Capital Partners.

Microsoft Acquires Affirmed Networks: Executive Perspectives

Describing the deal, Yousef Khalidi, corporate VP of Azure Networking at Microsoft, noted:

"This acquisition will allow us to evolve our work with the telecommunications industry, building on our secure and trusted cloud platform for operators. With Affirmed Networks, we will be able to offer new and innovative solutions tailored to the unique needs of operators, including managing their network workloads in the cloud.

"Previous generations of wireless networks have been based on purpose-built hardware. We believe that with innovation in software and by making use of broadly available cloud computing platforms like Microsoft Azure, operators can deploy and maintain 5G networks and services more efficiently, more cost effectively, more rapidly and more securely."

In a blog about the deal, Affirmed Networks CEO Krishnamurthy wrote:

"Upon the close of this transaction, Affirmed Networks, the company that we built from the ground-up to become an industry-transforming leader in virtualization and 5G, will become part of Microsoft.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.