Microsoft Azure Wins Boeing's Cloud Business

Boeing is set to move its extensive portfolio of digital solutions to Microsoft's Azure cloud platform, with an aim to improve the operation and efficiency of its airlines customers.

Dawn Kawamoto, Associate Editor, Dark Reading

July 19, 2016

3 Min Read
<p align="left">(Image: Nicolas McComber/iStockphoto)</p>

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Microsoft has landed Boeing as one of its latest high-profile Azure customers, adding fuel to its cloud battle with rival Amazon. It gives Boeing a greater presence in the cloud.

Under the agreement Boeing will move its extensive portfolio of digital solutions to Microsoft Azure, which aims to provide Boeing and its customers with access to those applications in order to make them more efficient, Microsoft announced Monday in a blog post.

With Azure and Microsoft services such as Cortana Intelligence and Azure IoT Suite, Boeing says it plans to improve its airline customers' abilities to tackle predictive aircraft maintenance and fuel optimization. The company also hopes to enhance the traveler's experience inside the cabin.

Andrew Gendreau, advanced information solutions director for Boeing's Digital Aviation division, said in a statement:

On a daily basis, our digital airline solutions impact over 300 airlines globally with data, expertise, efficiency and skills. Microsoft is similar in their industry, with their innovation areas, including cloud, analytics and mobility. Our philosophies are also complimentary: Get close to customers, understand their business and problems, then work with them to drive optimal outcomes.

Although Boeing experimented offering its digital solutions on such platforms as Microsoft's rival Amazon and CenturyLink, the aircraft manufacturer found that the various cloud systems taxed the company's expertise in cloud computing, and considered that it was better to centralize its offering on just one cloud platform, Boeing VP of Digital Aviation Kevin Crowley told The Wall Street Journal.

With the move to Azure, Boeing says it expects to gain the ability to take larger data sets gleaned from its customers and other sources and analyze them, The Journal noted.

Boeing is also moving its cloud-based aviation analytics applications from its subsidiaries AerData and Jeppesen to Microsoft Azure. Amsterdam-based AerData has already started the process and is expected to finish the shift within two years, according to The Journal.

[Read 7 Ways Cloud Computing Propels IT Security.]

Microsoft's Boeing win, which combines its cloud computing, with Cortana's machine learning intelligence, and the interconnected internet of things, with its Azure IoT Suite, may put the company in a position to expand into a range of sectors outside of the airlines industry and compete with AWS, The Journal noted, pointing to an another recent Microsoft Azure win with General Electric's Predix software platform. Predix, which conducts industrial machinery data analysis, also runs on AWS.

Microsoft, meanwhile, is getting cozier with the airlines industry. In March, it announced in a blog post that its Azure IoT technology would work with air-traffic control services provider Nav Canada to offer Azure's large computing power capability and scalable storage for Nav Canada's enhanced data flow via its joint venture with satellite company Iridium Communications called Aireon.

About the Author(s)

Dawn Kawamoto

Associate Editor, Dark Reading

Dawn Kawamoto is an Associate Editor for Dark Reading, where she covers cybersecurity news and trends. She is an award-winning journalist who has written and edited technology, management, leadership, career, finance, and innovation stories for such publications as CNET's,, AOL's DailyFinance, and The Motley Fool. More recently, she served as associate editor for technology careers site

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