Express Logic acquired by Microsoft

This Easter Friday, I was surprised to see the message that Express Logic has been acquired by Microsoft. The announcements on the websites of both companies do not disclose too much information on how exactly things will continue to operate, but it seems that Microsoft has bought Express Logic because they want the software as an easy on-ramp for their cloud services.

https://blogs.microsoft.com/blog/2019/04/18/microsoft-acquires-express-logic-accelerating-iot-development-for-billions-of-devices-at-scale/

ThreadX and the other products will serve as the operating system for small devices to access Azure, Microsoft’s cloud services. This is a bit like Amazon, acquiring FreeRTOS.

The goal for both of these large companies seems to be to make access to their cloud services easier for small devices, in order to make their own cloud services more popular.

Cloud services are already big money, and they continue to grow. Microsoft say they want to invest $5 billion into their Azure cloud:

Microsoft will invest $5 billion in IoT. Here’s why.

Clearly, acquiring Express Logic is part of that strategy. And clearly, it will help to make it easier to use Azure, using the Express Logic software, especially on smaller devices (They claim that that can happen all the way down to devices with just 64kB flash, but that seems challenging.) The business model (will this be open source? Will the use to access Azure be free?) is not clear to me. What is clear is that while it will be easier to access the Microsoft cloud, it will be harder to access any other cloud, such as Amazon’s web services (AWS) with the same solution. Maybe even not possible or prohibited by the licensing. It seems unlikely that Microsoft spends a lot of money to help companies connect to their competitors cloud services. Or help them to connect to services hosted on servers they operate themselves, which for a lot of companies will make sense to do.

The fog should settle in a few month or so. There are more questions than answers:

  • Will Express Logic software still be available for non-IoT devices?
  • Will current Express Logic customers continue to get support and updates in the future?
  • Will Express Logic as a company even continue to exist?
  • Will it be possible for small companies to engage with the ubiquitous desktop operating system vendor in order to negotiate a licensing deal for middleware?

It seems unlikely that it will become any easier to use other (non-Microsoft) cloud services with ThreadX and NetX.

Conclusion

We will have to wait and see how this plays out, but it shows that there are advantages to working with an independent vendor (of which there are not that many left…) such as SEGGER.

SEGGER’s IoT software can talk to anybody’s cloud service, be it Google, Amazon, Microsoft or somebody else’s. And SEGGER is also there if a customer needs to run his own server and does not want to use Cloud infrastructure providers, be it for flexibility, security, data protection or simply cost reduction reasons.

So this acquisition makes SEGGER’s IoT solutions even more attractive.
For more information on SEGGER’s IoT offerings, visit
https://www.segger.com/products/security-iot/iot-solutions/

or contact us via email at info@segger.com

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