Microsoft and SpaceX collaborate to take the cloud into space

Satellite orbiting Earth
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Microsoft takes one giant leap in its battle with Amazon over satellite-based internet connectivity and cloud services by teaming up with Elon Musk and SpaceX.

The new partnership with SpaceX will enable Microsoft to use the SpaceX Starlink satellites and launch a new fleet of low-orbiting satellites to host its Azure Space cloud-computing platform.

Azure Space will serve the space industry’s mission needs while also serving public and private organizations. Microsoft isn’t stopping with SpaceX, either, as tech giant is teaming up with several companies with strong backgrounds in space technology.

“We have brought together a team of renowned space industry veterans to work alongside our world-class product engineers and scientists to build cloud capabilities that meet the unique needs of space. Our innovation areas include simulating space missions, discovering insights from satellite data, and fueling innovation both on the ground and in orbit,” said Tom Keane, corporate vice president of Azure Global.

Microsoft and SpaceX expect to serve the government in defense and intelligence, but they’ll also bring improved connectivity solutions to the private sector. The use of low- and standard-orbit satellites will allow Microsoft to provide high-speed broadband connectivity worldwide, even in remote regions that struggle to get online.

The partnership between Microsoft and SpaceX seems timely for both sides. This jump into space comes just three months after Amazon, Microsoft’s primary cloud competitor, launched its Aerospace and Satellite Solutions program. And there’s no love lost between Musk and Amazon, as Musk called for Amazon to be broken up in June, calling it a monopoly.