Microsoft remains a force to be reckoned with
Jun 23, 2022 by Jonathan Watson


Out of Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta and Microsoft, there’s little doubt over which company is considered the least sexy.

It’s got to be Microsoft, hasn’t it? Feels like it’s been around since the dawn of computing time. All those tedious old programs which people have been working with forever. Look at Excel. OK, it may be fantastically useful, but working on spreadsheets does not generally tend to be fun, does it?

And yet when it comes to gaining access to frequencies, Microsoft’s long experience may give the company a decisive advantage as spectrum policies continue to evolve around the world.

Microsoft first featured in PolicyTracker in 2005, when it had plenty to say about harmonisation. “The goal should be to have a spectrum management framework which will allow new developments to flourish by letting market mechanisms replace regulation in areas such as harmonisation and standards, and by applying the absolute minimum of technical rules to prevent interference,” it said in a response to an RSPG consultation.

It also suggested permitting the use of licence-exempt, “fallow spectrum” (vacant channels) within the UHF TV broadcasting bands for wireless broadband access. Sound familiar? Microsoft remains active in TV white spaces to this day.

More recently, the company’s just agreed a deal with Canadian telco Rogers to combine that company’s 5G network with Microsoft’s cloud computing platform Azure.

It may not generate the excitement that seems to accompany Apple, Google or Meta’s every move, but Microsoft definitely remains one to watch. It has clear and long-established views on many key aspects of spectrum policy.

Our Microsoft research note has just been updated. You can check it out here, along with the latest research into the other OTT players we track through our Spectrum Research Service.