One year ago, we announced Azure IP Advantage, the industry’s leading program to help cloud service customers stay focused on their digital transformation journey and avoid IP issues. The program has been a tremendous success so far with many customers telling us that it is a key differentiator for Azure and that they choose Azure in part because of the value they get from these benefits.
Here are some of the highlights from our first year:
- Customers around the world find that Azure IP Advantage has been a valuable deterrent against IP lawsuits, which is especially important as cloud-related patent litigation has increased over the past 4 years. Customers of our partner 21 Vianet like Mobike, the world’s largest bicycle sharing company headquartered in China, explain the benefits of offering IP protection programs to Azure clients. “Azure IP Advantage helps us by reducing potential IP risks as we march into new markets. From technologies to patent offerings, Microsoft is providing a comprehensive protection for us to thrive on cloud without worry.”
- Microsoft expanded Azure IP Advantage to China in partnership with 21Vianet, ensuring that Azure customers in China enjoy the same great IP protection benefits as customers in the rest of the world.
- Microsoft invests about $10 million a year to maintain the 10,000 patents that are available to customers under the program. This is money that our customers do not need to pay themselves! When they select Azure to deploy their workloads and run their apps, customers now benefit from the ability they have to access our portfolio.
- Those 10,000 patents include more than 500 patents related to artificial intelligence. Customers are increasingly taking advantage of Microsoft Cognitive Services to add AI capabilities to their apps. These innovations have been harvested from Microsoft’s world-class development community over many years. We will continue to prioritize these assets in the Azure IP Advantage portfolio for the benefit of customers, as the importance of artificial intelligence as a service grows.
Azure’s adoption rate has grown at 90% year-over-year as customers continue to embrace the benefits of running workloads in the cloud. We’ve seen how the additional benefits of Azure IP Advantage has become vital to them as well.
The core benefits of the program are straight forward. Azure IP Advantage provides customers with uncapped indemnification for Microsoft cloud services, including for the open source components that power these services. Eligible customers have also access to 10,000 Microsoft patents to deter and defend their own applications running on Azure against patent lawsuits by operating companies. We’ve seen competitors try to match some aspects of this offering since we launched it, but none to date have come close.
As we move into the second year of Azure IP Advantage, we look forward to working with our customers to continue improving the benefits available to them through our expertise in using IP to minimize risk.
If you are an Azure customer and have thoughts on the program and how it could be improved, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s been an exciting year for the Azure IP Advantage program, and we’re looking forward to another great one in 2018.